Hunter Who Shot and Killed Another Hunter Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter
A man who misidentified a deer and shot another hunter has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He also pleaded guilty to unrelated sex charges brought against him while he was awaiting his manslaughter trial.
Maine Warden Corporal John MacDonald said in a press release that Christopher Austin, of Wales, is sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail. His guilty plea was the result of charges brought against him for the fatal shooting of Gerard Parent. Austin misidentified Parent as a deer while hunting near Parent's house on November 20th, 2012.
In addition to the manslaughter case, Austin also pleaded guilty to three counts of Gross Sexual Assault. These charges were unrelated to the shooting and were the result of an investigation that was launched while Austin awaited trial. His victims were said to be under the age of 18, and as young as 8 years old.
Austin is sentenced to 15 years in prison with all but seven years suspended for the Gross Sexual Assault charges. His two-and-a-half years for Manslaughter will run concurrently with the seven years and Austin will serve nine years on probation upon his release. He was also ordered to pay more then $5,000 restitution to Parent's family.
Maine Game Warden Lieutenant Dan Scott commented the hunting related shooting incident was a "textbook case of failing to make proper target identification." He went on to say that "Austin shot at Parent without having an unobstructed view of his head and torso, as required by Maine's Target Identification law. Parent was standing near his residence, wearing a blaze orange vest over a white t-shirt at the time of the incident." He then added that Austin would be subject to a minimum 10-year suspension of his hunting privileges as a result of the conviction.