Over the years, we have followed hunting accidents (here and here and here) — the subject of an earlier column on “buck fever.” We have a new and tragic such case in Virginia. Ferrum College senior Jessica Goode, 23, went out hiking with friends last week when Jason D. Cloutier, 31, mistook her for a deer. He shot and killed her in the chest with his .35-caliber, high-powered rifle. The bullet went through her chest and into the hand of her friend Regis Boudinot, 20.
Goode was studying the environmental science and loved the woods. She was wearing white at the time of the shooting. Cloutier’s rifle was equipped with a telescopic sight.
Cloutier is now charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless use of a firearm and trespass. The charges could bring a maximum of 12 years in jail and $5,000 in fines — if convicted. Rural juries are often very sympathetic to hunters in such cases.
Hunting season just began a few days earlier and each year in Franklin County 6,000 deer are killed.
These cases can produce troubling results such as the jury decision in favor of a hunter who shot a woman in her garden in Bangor, Maine. She was viewed as reckless for going out during deer season wearing white mittens and a dark coat, here.
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