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Hunting death trial vacated

Christine Metz

A homicide trial scheduled to take place Monday for a 44-year-old Wisconsin man accused of accidentally killing a hunting companion was vacated and a disposition hearing set in its place.

At the disposition hearing scheduled for Monday, Douglas Jones of South Wayne, Wis., is expected to enter a plea on charges relating to the hunting death of his lifelong friend, Gerald Holverson.

Jones last appeared in court Aug. 13, when he turned down a plea offer, sending the case to trial. Four days later, a request was made to vacate the planned three-day jury trial.

If the plea does not proceed for any reason, court documents state, the court will assume the defendant has consented to resetting the trial within six months.

Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and Jones’ attorney, Sherman Romney, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

On Sept. 20, 2003, Holverson, also 44 of South Wayne, Wis., died from a black powder gunshot wound during a weeklong hunting trip in South Routt County.

Jones and Holverson were part of a six-person hunting party on Bureau of Land Management land about a mile west of Waller Reservoir in the King Mountain area of South Routt.

Jones told investigators he heard a noise in the brush and said he saw an elk with maybe six points, a DA’s report states. But what Jones fired at on that dim and foggy early morning was Holverson, whose hat was his only piece of safety-orange apparel.

Holverson died from a lacerated right lung and heart, the Routt County Coroner’s report stated.

More than three months after the shooting, the DA’s Office filed charges against Jones for criminally negligent homicide.

During a March 23 court appearance, Romney said his client was not willing to accept a plea offer from the DA’s office and planned to take the case to trial. Romney would not say what that plea offer involved.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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