SOUTH PARIS, Maine — The hunter charged with manslaughter in the Oct. 28 death of a Hebron woman remained free Wednesday after making his first court appearance and posting $2,500 cash bail.
Robert R. Trundy, 38, of Hebron was not asked to enter a plea at the Oxford County Courthouse in South Paris because he has not yet been indicted by the grand jury, which will convene in December.
If convicted of manslaughter, Trundy faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. A conviction would prevent him from possessing firearms for the rest of his life.
Trundy told Superior Court Justice Lance Walker that he understood the charges against him. He left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
Trundy allegedly shot and killed Karen Wrentzel, 34, while she was digging for rocks on her land in Hebron, which is about 10 miles from Lewiston. The affidavit filed Wednesday said Trundy failed to identify his target while hunting.
Wrentzel’s body was found about 200 feet from where wardens determined that Trundy fired his .30-06 caliber rifle, the affidavit said. Trundy did not have a scope on the gun.
Trundy told Game Warden Anthony Gray that after he fired he heard a scream and thought, “Deer don’t do that,” Gray said in the affidavit. Trundy also said that when he realized he had shot a person he was not able to render aid but instead called his father, who was hunting with him, to say he thought he’d shot someone, the affidavit said.
Nevertheless, Defense Attorney Scott Lynch of Lewiston said outside the courthouse after the brief hearing that his client was “very certain that he was shooting at a deer.”
In response to a reporter’s question about Trundy’s allegedly not trying to help the person he shot, Lynch said, “The affidavit that was submitted along with the complaint is an incomplete account about what happened and a somewhat false narrative about assistance that was either rendered or not.”
The attorney described Trundy as “upset and grieving” for the Wrentzel family as well as worried about his own wife and son.
“He’s having a difficult time,” Lynch said of his client.
Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis, who is prosecuting the case, told reporters his office thinks Trundy’s actions were reckless and criminally negligent.
Ellis declined to compare the Hebron shooting to the death of Karen Wood of Hermon in 1988. She was fatally shot by a hunter while standing in her backyard.
The day Wrentzel died, Oct. 28, was the residents-only opening day of Maine’s firearms deer season. Her land was not posted against access or hunting, and Wrentzel was not wearing hunter orange clothing.
The medical examiner determined Wrentzel died of a gunshot wound to the lower torso.
The conditions of the bail set for Trundy include getting his mugshot taken and being fingerprinted at the Oxford County Jail within 48 hours. Also, he cannot possess firearms or bows and arrows or he have contact with eight people who are witnesses or related to the victim.
The prosecutor had asked that bail be set at $5,000 cash and that conditions include no contact with Ralph Trundy, his father.
The defense attorney told Justice Walker that his client could post $2,500 but not $5,000. The lawyer objected to his client’s not having contact with his father. After consulting with wardens, the prosecutor agreed to take Ralph Trundy off the no-contact list.
Robert Trundy has no prior criminal history, according to the Maine State Bureau of Identification.
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