Trial Set In Case Connected To Muskingum Co. Exotic Animal Release

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Four Ohio men will face trial early next year on charges they tried to steal the carcass of a lion that was one of many exotic animals set free by a suicidal owner.

The lion was among 48 loose wild animals killed by sheriff's deputies in eastern Ohio's Muskingum County last month after their owner opened the cages and then killed himself.

A Jan. 6 trial has been scheduled for the four men. Each is charged with a misdemeanor count of theft and faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

A 17-year-old boy taken into custody with them has been charged in juvenile court.

Prosecutors haven't said what they believed the group planned to do with the dead lion.