Teen hunter’s testimony in manslaughter trial stirs emotions
Court: Boys believed Pamela Almli was a bear; both sides moved to tears
TAHLIA GANSER - SKAGIT VALLEY HERALD
As soon as the 14-year-old hunter saw the body, his legs went limp. “Oh my God,” his older brother said as he peered over the trail onto the rocky area below on the slope of Sauk Mountain.
The younger brother followed.“Oh my God, I just shot somebody,”
his brother said, the older boy testified during Friday’s proceedings. Tyler J. Kales of Concrete is on trial for the Aug. 2 death of Pamela Almli.
“He started breaking down,” said the defendant’s older brother, now 17. “He said his legs were getting weak.” It was the opening day of defense testimony in the trial, which already has lasted four days and will continue next week as the older brother remains on the witness stand.
The older brother testified that both boys mistook Almli for a bear before the younger brother fired the fatal shot. After discovering Almli’s body, the two ran to their grandfather, who was sitting in his truck at the trail head waiting for the boys to return.
The defendant’s older brother told the courtroom both he and his brother were absolutely certain they had a bear in their sights when the younger boy, now 15, pulled the trigger. The elder teen spoke softly and slowly on the witness stand. The boy’s account stirred emotions among friends and family of the defendant and the victim. Some wiped away tears.
The older boy said the brothers saw what they thought was a bear on their way back down Sauk Mountain about 130 yards
below them. He tried to use his binoculars to get a better look, but the lens was fogged with condensation.
The mountain had been foggy, but it started to lift, the boy said. At that point there was no fog between the boys and the “bear,”
the boy testified.
“Yeah, it’s a bear,” the older brother recalled his younger brother saying as he looked through his scope.
After they realized what they had done and the boys reached their grandfather waiting in his truck, the elder boy relayed the story.
The older brother will continue his testimony Monday.