TEEN CONVICTED IN HIKER SHOOTING
June 03, 2009
(SKAGIT COUNTY) -- A Skagit County juvenile court judge found a teen aged hunter guilty yesterday of 2nd degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a woman he says he misidentified as a bear on a foggy morning last year on Sauk mountain.
Judge Susan Cook issued the verdict after a five-day trial, finding the boy negligent under the law but not guilty of first-degree manslaughter and recklessness in the killing of 54-year old Pamela Almli, of the small town of Oso near Darrington.
A second hearing will be held to determine whether the then 14-year old should serve added time for using a firearm in the commission of the crime.
At the maximum however the boy would serve no more time than a few months in a juvenile detention center as he faces a simple 30-day sentence for the second-degree manslaughter conviction and if a judge finds extra time for using a firearm in the commission of a crime is warranted in this case the boy would face only an additional two months.
The county prosecutor alleged during the trial 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.
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 riflescope. The two teenagers were legally hunting together but without an adult along to supervise the hunt.
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 an article of clothing into her hiking pack. She suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.