‘unlawful for a hunter to base his or her target identification upon sound alone’

Hebron man pleads guilty to manslaughter after mistaking human for deer

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 8:45pm

SOUTH PARIS — Robert Trundy, 38, of Hebron, plead guilty Sept. 3 in Oxford County Superior Court to Manslaughter, a class A crime, for the killing of Karen Wrentzel on October 28, 2017, according to a news release from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Justice Andrew Horton sentenced Trundy to serve seven years with all but nine months suspended, four years probation and perform 100 hours community service.

Trundy was hunting behind Wrentzel’s residence in Hebron and violated Maine’s Target Identification Law when he mistook her for a deer and shot her with his Browning .30-06 rifle, IF&W said in its release. Wrentzel died at the scene.

Almost a dozen of Wrentzel’s friends and family provided impact statements to the court during the proceedings. The comments illustrated the tragic consequences that resulted with the failing to make proper target identification while hunting.

The conviction was the culmination of a two-year investigation that involved hundreds of hours of work by Maine Game Wardens and the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

“The seven-year jail sentence with nine months behind bars is significantly longer than other hunting related shooting incident convictions of the past,” said Lieutenant Dan Scott who oversaw the investigation, in the release. “The incident clearly changed the lives of many people forever. Hopefully today’s proceedings will help the family find some closure or at least allow them to continue moving forward from the tragic incident.” 

The shooting incident and conviction serves as a reminder of the law that every hunter must make proper target identification by obtaining an unobstructed view of their intended target, and all hunters understand the risk of loss of legitimate prey in order to properly identify their target.

It is unlawful for a hunter to base his or her target identification upon sound alone or even upon sound in combination with what appears to be an appendage of the wild animal or wild bird. The consequences of such a decision were illustrated in this case.

Trundy is scheduled to begin his jail sentence on September 16, 2019. As a convicted felon, he will forever be banned from possessing a firearm.