TEEN AGE HUNTER CHARGED IN
August 16, 2008
(SKAGIT COUNTY) -- As expected prosecutors in Skagit County filed a first-degree manslaughter charge on Friday in Skagit County Superior Court against a 14-year old hunter who shot to death a hiker in the woods August 2nd.
The teenager would face only up to nine months in juvenile detention if convicted of the charge.
Prosecutors allege the boy acted in a reckless manner when he misidentified 54-year old Pamela Almli, of the small hamlet of Oso not far from Darrington, as a bear on a Sauk mountain trail and pulled the trigger of his hunting rifle.
The high-powered bullet flew some 120 yards and struck and killed Almli while she was on a marked hiking trail bending over to put something into her hiking pack. She suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
Prosecutors say the young hunter was encouraged to fire at the target by his older teen-age brother who also misidentified the hiker as a bear through a rifle scope. The two teenagers were legally hunting together but without an adult along to supervise the hunt.
Prosecutors allege the teenager failed to follow guidelines in Washington State’s hunting safety manual. A hunter is required to be sure of the target and what lies beyond the target before firing. According to the charges, the hunter only identified his target through his rifle's telescopic site and not first through binoculars, as he should have.
Based on the age of the young hunter and other factors in the shooting prosecutors felt it was appropriate to handle the case in juvenile court as opposed to adult court. Prosecutors do not believe the shooting was intentional.