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Published May 11, 2010, 08:42 AM

South Dakota cattle theft suspect pleads

WATERTOWN, S.D. — A former co-owner of an auction barn in the northeast South Dakota community of Watertown has pleaded no contest to an amended charge of grand theft.

WATERTOWN, S.D. — A former co-owner of an auction barn in the northeast South Dakota community of Watertown has pleaded no contest to an amended charge of grand theft.

Joey Varner, of Pierz, Minn., initially was charged last July with aggravated grand theft for allegedly stealing 188 cattle from Watertown Livestock that were under U.S. Bankruptcy Court control.

Varner entered his plea to the amended charge on Monday. A no contest plea means a suspect does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Varner faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine when he is sentenced June 23.

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