Nebraska Man Faces Prison for Plot to Murder Wildlife Officer

The 24-year-old will serve a little less than 10 years in prison after staking out the officer’s home with a rifle and handgun. He also threatened to use explosives.

Federal courts sentenced a Nebraska man to 117 months in prison last week after he planned to murder a U.S. Fish and Wildlife officer.

Cody A. Cape, 24, of Blair, Neb., began plotting the murder after the officer cited him in Oct. 2020 for a fishing violation, officials said. A month later, the same officer began investigating Cape and a friend for deer poaching in DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, local news reported.

Cape soon began preparing to retaliate. A U.S. Department of Justice investigation revealed that he then obtained firearms and began searching for the officer at his home and workplace.

On Dec. 24, 2020, Cape had a friend drive him to the officer’s personal residence in Blair. As they drove past, Cape allegedly screamed expletives out the window and bragged about surveilling the home for weeks, according to local news reports.

He then had his friend drive to an Omaha apartment, where Cape obtained a .45-caliber handgun and a rifle, federal officials said. He then asked the friend to drive to Desoto National Wildlife Refuge to search for the officer, but the friend refused.

Cape placed his handgun on his lap and asked again, authorities said. Fearful for his life, the friend complied.

desoto refuge
Boaters in the Desoto National Wildlife Refuge, where Cape was under investigation for poaching; (photo/Shutterstock)

Threatening to Use Explosives

Cape didn’t find the officer at Desoto National Wildlife Refuge. During the return trip, Cape discussed ways he planned to kill the wildlife officer, including with C4, TNT, or dynamite, officials said.

Cape discussed wiring explosives to the officer’s work vehicle or throwing explosives through a window to kill the officer and his family.

His friend later contacted police to report what had happened. Officers from the Blair Police Department located Cape the next day, which was Christmas. They found him with the handgun in his vehicle, officials said.

During an interview with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and FBI officers, Cape admitted to making statements about killing the officer, but claimed he wasn’t serious.

Cape said he was stressed from the officer’s poaching investigation. When asked if he had made statements to kill the officer, Cape said “probably” and then added, “I don’t know where the f··k I’d get that s··t.”

When asked for clarification, officials noted that Cape said “C4.”

Ultimately, Cape was found guilty of Threatening to Murder a Federal Law Enforcement Officer and also Carrying and Using a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.

There’s no parole in the federal prison system. Cape will serve a 3-year term of Supervised Release after the end of his sentence.

A team including the FBI, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Blair Police Department investigated the case. United States District Judge Brian C. Buescher handed down Cape’s sentence on Sept. 22.

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Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.