BAD: Trial under way for Vt. man in shooting death of retired professor

BAD: Trial under way for Vt. man in shooting death of retired professor

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Thread: BAD: Trial under way for Vt. man in shooting death of retired professor

  1. #1
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    BAD: Trial under way for Vt. man in shooting death of retired professor

    Very sad...

    Trial under way for Vt. man in shooting death of retired professor from backyard firing range

    Trial under way for Vt. man in shooting death of retired professor from backyard firing range
    By: JOHN CURRAN
    Associated Press
    05/18/10 5:02 PM EDT


    BURLINGTON, VT. He was an English professor emeritus, a literary critic and scholar, a beloved figure at St. Michael's College who'd taught at the northern Vermont school for 34 years and was once honored as teacher of the year.

    "Literature is important because it teaches us about life," John Reiss was fond of telling his students.

    In the end, they learned about death, too. On Sept. 23, 2008, Reiss was sitting down to eat dinner in his suburban Essex home when a rifle bullet tore through a window and hit him in the chest, killing him on the spot.

    Police didn't have to look far to figure out what had happened. At the house next door, four men were taking target practice with rifles and a shotgun in a backyard shooting range, the sound of gunfire still heard by police arriving at Reiss' home in response to a frantic 911 call from his wife.

    Because the four had been taking turns shooting the weapons, prosecutors concede they don't know who fired the fatal shot.

    But they charged two of the men with involuntary manslaughter, and the trial got under way Tuesday for one of them Joseph McCarthy, a 40-year-old tool operator at IBM who had set up the shooting range in his backyard, about 750 feet from Reiss' house.

    Prosecutors say McCarthy, who had passed a hunter safety course 10 days before, should have known the risk posed by the shooting party and should be held criminally liable for Reiss' death. If convicted, he could get 15 years in prison.

    His defense attorney, Margaret Jansch, told jurors in Vermont District Court that McCarthy was a novice with firearms but had consulted with a friend with military experience and believed it was safe to shoot targets off 3-foot-tall tree stumps in his wooded backyard.

    She said McCarthy agonizes over what happened and accepts moral responsibility for it. But that's not criminal responsibility, she said.

    She said he couldn't have known that "Rambo" co-defendant Brad Lussier, 28, of Colchester, who has pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately was going to show up.

    The men shot uneventfully for about 90 minutes before Lussier fired a rapid succession of "reckless" shots from a semiautomatic rifle, and about 10 minutes later, police began arriving, according to Jansch, who acknowledged that the shooter was never identified.

    Reached later by telephone, Lussier's defense attorney, Robert Katims, called that characterization colorful but inaccurate.

    "You're suggesting someone was carrying it at the hip and firing it off like Sylvester Stallone, and there's no suggestion that Mr. Lussier was doing anything but pointing at the target and attempting to hit the target," he said.

    Prosecutor Mary Morrissey said no one intended to kill Reiss, but McCarthy's actions in setting up the shooting range and inviting his IBM co-workers over to fire weapons there constituted criminal negligence.

    "Now the fact is that on Sept. 23, nobody set out with specific intent to kill Dr. Reiss. But the criminally negligent conduct of one person in the courtroom here today led directly to that result. And that person is Joseph McCarthy," Morrissey said.

    On Wednesday, jurors will be taken to the scene of the shooting for a look at where it happened.
    Tom
    Osculare pultem meam! - Kiss my grits!


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    So they were shooting targets off tree stumps with no backstop,towards at least one residence.what a buncha morons
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Anyone who fires a rifle 750 feet from another residence is criminally liable and responsible for any damage or injury caused by said act, IMHO!
    Hiram25
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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    WOW, Sounds like some idjits
    H/D
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    Member Array SteveinNEPA's Avatar
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    Idiots. PURE and SIMPLE.
    BETTER TO BE TRIED BY 12 THAN CARRIED BY 6
    Hesitation kills faster than a bullet.
    If your head is up your *$$ you are unaware of danger. You are in the perfect position to kiss it goodbye.
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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    I smell goose.
    I think his goose is cooked. stupid is as stupid does.
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  7. #7
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    Someone has to take 'some' responsibility for something...let the shooters get in line.
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