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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS

Backyard hunting leads to drug charges against local couple

November 21, 2011

By Michael Barrett, GastonGazette.com

As Gil Rivera’s wife was returning home from her job as a schoolteacher one night last week, she heard what sounded like gunfire as she walked into the house.

Rivera was inside and heard it too, though he said they both brushed it off and didn’t call police. But when told it might have been a neighbor two houses down shooting deer in his backyard, inside the city limits, Rivera voiced concern Monday.

“No, I don’t want that type of thing around here,” he said from his driveway. “This has been a quiet neighborhood.”

Complaints from other neighbors about the backyard hunting prompted police to visit the home Sunday, and the couple that lives there now faces a slew of drug-related charges. David Lynn Peche Jr., 31, and wife Laura Schronce Peche, 28, of 2608 Caswell Court, were arrested and charged after police obtained search warrants and pored over their home Sunday night.

The house, which the Peches bought almost three years ago, is located off Union Road in the Governors Square subdivision. The backyard descends toward a wooded area and a creek, though several other homes are visible about 200 yards away in a separate neighborhood on Pine Knoll Court. Neighbors say deer are often visible walking through the woods.

Gastonia police say they had received several complaints of David Peche hunting with a firearm in the wooded area behind his home. When officers went to speak with him about the allegations, they observed a spotlight over a corn pile in the backyard, according to arrest warrants and affidavits.

When Peche refused to allow police to look over the area, they obtained a search warrant and returned Sunday night. They found a 12-gauge shotgun and .35-caliber rifle, assorted pieces of hunting clothing, deer hair and blood, and other evidence that Peche had been hunting from his backyard, according to warrants.

Inside the home, police also found more than 16 grams of hydromorphone pills outside of a prescription bottle, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia in a desk drawer, according to warrants.

David Peche is a felon who has past convictions for assault inflicting serious injury, simple assault, breaking and entering, larceny, possession of stolen goods and other drug charges dating back to 1997. Because of his status as a felon, he is not allowed to possess firearms.

David Peche was charged with trafficking opium or heroin, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a felon and hunting without a big game license.

Laura Peche was charged with trafficking opium or heroin, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Theresa Neumayer, who lives next to the Peches, said she has sometimes heard Peche shooting at targets in the backyard. But she figured it was something he could do.

“It was so quiet, I thought it was maybe just a BB gun,” she said.

Paige Royston lives directly across Caswell Court from the Peches, and said she and her husband have been friendly with the couple. She said she also heard a gunshot one night about 8 p.m. a couple of weeks ago, but thought nothing of it, and didn’t realize anyone might be hunting so close by. She suspects the neighbors behind the Peches called police, because the gunfire would’ve been more in their direction.

David Peche had back surgery some time ago, and his wife recently broke her shoulder when their front porch swing broke and collapsed, Royston said. She suspects the pain pills they had may have been related to that.

“They just got caught in a bad situation I guess,” Royston said.

David Peche and Laura Peche were held at the Gaston County Jail on bonds of $100,000 and $50,000, respectively. Two cars and a bass boat were in the driveway Monday afternoon, though no one answered the door.

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826.

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