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Hunter who shot husband found not guilty

Hunter who shot husband found not guilty

An American woman was found not guilty Friday of criminal negligence causing death in the fatal shooting of her husband while hunting four years ago in central Newfoundland.
Justice Richard LeBlanc of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador said the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mary Beth Harshbarger recklessly breached the standard of care expected by a person in such circumstances.
LeBlanc blamed the shooting on "a constellation of unfortunate facts that reasonably caused Mrs. Harshbarger to believe she was shooting at a bear."
The prosecution argued that Harshbarger, 45, who lives in rural Meshoppen, Pennsylvania, showed disregard for safety when she fired her rifle at her 42-year-old husband, Mark, who wasn't wearing an orange safety vest or hat at the time.
The defense portrayed the death as an accident.
Harshbarger has always said she thought she was shooting at a bear when she pulled the trigger on Sept. 14, 2006, as her husband emerged from the bush in central Newfoundland.
The defense attorney said Harshbarger, who left the court without commenting, was on her way home to Pennsylvania.
If she had been convicted, Harshbarger would have faced a sentence of four years to life in prison. She had been in jail since her extradition in May.
The Harshbargers' two children _ a young son and daughter _ were with their mother in a pickup truck parked about 200 feet (60 meters) from where their father was killed.
During the nine-day trial, a hunting guide told the court that she became "hysterical" when she was told she had killed her husband.
In her closing arguments, prosecutor Karen O'Reilly said Harshbarger showed "heedless" disregard for the "huge risk" she created when she fired her rifle after sunset.
Defense lawyer Karl Inder agreed hunters must know what they're shooting at before pulling the trigger, but added "it's also true that accidents happen."


Updated : 2021-10-22 05:52 GMT+08:00