MORGAN HILL (KPIX 5) -- Investigators in Santa Clara County on Monday arrested a man in connection with nearly a dozen cattle found dead near Henry Coe State Park outside of Morgan Hill back in June.
The suspect, 54-year-old Fremont resident Marc Belluomini, was taken into custody at his home on Monday.
Belluomini owned 1,500 acres near the Canada de los Osos Ecological Reserve off of state Highway 152 and had entered into an agreement early this year with two cattle owners for them to use the area for grazing, according to sheriff's deputies.
The agreement "began to break down," sheriff's officials said, and the man allegedly brandished a rifle at one of the cattle owners on May 25 when they tried to remove the animals from the property.
The cattle owner reported the incident to sheriff's officials, who said both parties agreed to a negotiated removal of the cattle.
But on June 5, the cattle owner told sheriff's deputies that several of their cows had been slaughtered and buried on the property. Deputies said they launched an investigation and later unearthed 11 cows, in addition to bullet fragments and other evidence.
Belluomini was arrested on 11 counts of animal abuse, two counts of illegal cattle driving and one count of brandishing a weapon.
He has since posted $200,000 bail.
During the initial investigation in June, authorities said they believed the cattle paid the price for a dispute over ranch land and the killer tried to bury the evidence.
The sheriff's office says the cattle were discovered in a shallow grave on the land of a Morgan Hill ranch on June 14 and may have gone undetected for several weeks on what became an expanding crime scene.
"I am extremely proud of the exquisite work by our investigators in this unusual case," Sheriff Laurie Smith said in a statement. "I truly hope justice will be served in response to the cruel killing of these animals."
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