Kingman Daily Miner
May 31, 2015
2/5/2010 6:00:00 AM
Second sewage dumper sentenced
Dunn will spend 40 days in jail
Miner Staff Reporter
KINGMAN – An employee of a septic company who said he was just doing as he was directed was sentenced to 40 days in jail Thursday for dumping sewage in the desert last year.
John Evans Dunn, 46, received five days less than the manager of All American Septic Plumbing, 27-year-old Michael Bray Whitten, who was sentenced in the same case last month.
Dunn and Whitten were both charged with felony criminal littering after the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office received a tip last winter that employees of the company were dumping raw sewage in the desert rather than taking it to the landfill. The Sheriff’s Office conducted surveillance on the company using ground units and aircraft.
The prosecution alleged that Dunn and Whitten illegally unloaded a 5,500-gallon tanker on a semi-regular basis in several locations, including along Faith Road in Dolan Springs, in a wash behind the company’s business in Golden Valley and in the desert on property owned by John Neal.
Dunn’s attorney, Sandra Carr, said Dunn was ordered to dump the sewage by his supervisor, Whitten. She said her client was forced between choosing to commit a crime or losing his job.
“John didn’t have much of a choice,” she said. “He can’t just walk away from one job right to another (in this economy).”
Carr also refuted claims that the company was unaware of the illegal dumping. She said company records show two to three visits to Grand Canyon West each week to pick up loads, but only one trip to the landfill each week.
County Attorney Spencer Nussbaum said Dunn was responsible regardless of who told him to do what.
“The defendant had a choice, and he chose to break the law,” Nussbaum said.
Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson asked for the maximum punishment for Dunn. He cited the efforts of more than 100 volunteers who clean up trash in the desert as part of the Catch a Bug and Environmental Rural Cleanup Enforcement programs.
“His actions of sewage dumping can’t be cleaned by our volunteers no matter how many hours (they spend),” he said.
Dunn spoke before his sentencing and apologized to the court and the county for his actions.
“I know ignorance is no excuse, but I was just doing what I was told,” he said.
Dunn also received three years probation and 400 hours community service, along with a $2,500 restitution fee, the same conditions as ordered for Whitten.
Judge Rick Williams, who handed down both sentences, said he hoped the case would serve as a warning for those thinking of dumping litter in the desert.