PRESTON, Minn. (KTTC) -- A horse trader from rural Ostrander admitted in court Monday that he still owns horses in other locations-- a detail that needed further clarification in the courtroom.
Monday's hearing was originally scheduled to review the conditions set for Wilbur Schmoll as the case gets sorted out. However, new information emerged.
Last November, it was the lives of more than 50 horses, ponies and mules that were a concern.
"The whole deal about them horses that was in bad shape, I got'em for a guy who wanted to slaughter them to feed his fox," said Schmoll. "Then he was scared to do it. They didn't get that way at my place. They come that way."
Sheriff's deputies seized the animals from the farm of the lifetime horse trader. "I'm the one that's got crucified," he said. "That cost me $30,000 hauling' them horses off."
Awaiting a trial, in January Schmoll was released under a set of conditions, to not own or possess any domestic animals. However, concerns arose just last week, on April 2. "We had a report that one of the officers drove past the property and that there was a horse out on Mr. Schmoll's farmland," explained Fillmore County Attorney Brett Corson.
Schmoll argues he didn't own the horse, the horse was being kept on the farm overnight for an acquaintance, to be picked up the following day by someone else.
Outside the courtroom, Schmoll noted the news coverage in the newspapers in Preston and Rochester and our reports on KTTC are not helping his case either and he feels the media has got it wrong, telling our reporter, "If I had a gun I'd have shot you when you come in there."
At the court hearing, Judge Robert Benson clarified, Schmoll could not own or possess any horses on his property near Ostrander. And that he cannot purchase any more horses.
"That was good for us because there were concerns about him owning horses in other states and possibly acquiring more horses," said Corson. In the courtroom, new information came to light when Schmoll admitted he owns horses in Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri, but the number of how many remains a mystery.
"I could have 150 horses out there and if there is one missing I could tell you. And I wouldn't know how many was there," said Schmoll. In the hearing, Schmoll told Corson the number of out of state horses was 15.
The road has been a long one already for Wilbur since that day back in November facing accusations. "I've never beat a horse in my life," he said. Trying to uphold his reputation. "They buy from me it's exactly how it's supposed to be." And being told how to do his job. "How can you keep a lot of ice in your tanks?"
All this, as a trial hasn't even begun.
The county attorney said it's going to be tough to gauge or track how many horses are outside the state of Minnesota.
The date of pretrial and trial has not been set.
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