A Hebron man was charged with manslaughter in the Oct. 28 hunting-related death of Karen Wrentzel, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.
Robert Trundy, 38, told authorities he saw “what he thought was the ‘ass of a deer’ with a tail, skinny legs and a possible glimpse of what he thought could have been part of a head or antler of a deer,” Game Warden Anthony Gray said in a sworn affidavit, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal. Trundy never saw the outline of a deer, Gray said, according to the paper.
“It was nearly impossible to observe and identify a human form, even when dressed in hunter orange,” the Sun Journal quoted Gray as saying.
Trundy, who was hunting with a scopeless .30-06 semi-automatic Browning rifle, heard a scream when he fired the shot from about 100 yards away and “thought to himself, ‘deer don’t do that,’” the paper quoted Gray as saying. He walked toward Wrentzel’s location, but stopped when he saw a rake, and realized he may have hit a person, the Sun Journal reported.
“Honestly, I couldn’t go down there,” he said, according to the affidavit. “If I don’t see it, it’s out of my mind.”
Trundy is scheduled to make his initial appearance at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Oxford County Superior Court in South Paris.
Wrentzel’s death was just the third in which a non-hunter was shot and killed by a hunter in Maine since 1988.
Wrentzel, 34, was shot and killed while digging for rocks on land she owns in the small town of Hebron, about 10 miles outside of Lewiston.
The land was not posted against access or hunting, and Wrentzel was not wearing blaze orange clothing. Oct. 28 was the residents-only opening day of the firearms season on deer in Maine.
According to her uncle, Jon Spofford, Wrentzel was about 200 yards from Greenwood Mountain Road when she was shot.
The Maine Warden Service initially reported that a 38-year-old man had been identified as the shooter. That man was reportedly hunting with his father at the time. Neither hunter had any affiliation with Wrentzel, according to the warden service.
Wrentzel had just moved into her grandmother’s mobile home on Greenwood Mountain Road, a day earlier. Wrentzel had undergone surgery to treat cervical cancer in September, and moved from Palermo to Hebron in order to continue her healing process while at the same time spending the winter with her grandmother, Beverly Spofford.
Spofford had given Wrentzel 15 acres behind the mobile home, and Wrentzel had spent time clearing trees, building a small garden, and camping out on the land. She had hoped to build a primitive cabin or hut on the land and to live there.
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