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Malta boy pleads guilty to negligent homicide in 2010 death

A youngster from the Malta area has agreed to a plea bargain in connection with the 2010 shooting death of his friend. The teen signed a plea agreement that allowed him to admit to just a single count of negligent homicide in connection with the wrongful death case. The 16-year-old was slated to stand trial in late June for the shooting death of his 16-year-old hunting companion.

Authorities report that the victim died after he was shot in the back of the neck during a hunting excursion. When the incident was first reported, most people thought the shooting was a straightforward hunting accident. The victim was the oldest of the group; the young man facing charges was 14 at the time of the shooting. One other teen was present, though no adults had accompanied the boys on their trip.

The youngsters had initially reported that they dropped their friend off in a field to hunt deer. He was fatally wounded when they returned. However, medical reports show that the young man could not have possibly shot himself. Further investigation turned up wildly different reports from both of the other youngsters involved in the situation. Initial hearings had only charged the young men with obstruction of justice, but new information led to the felony negligent homicide allegations.

The victim's parents have never been fully satisfied with the results of the criminal investigation, according to news reports. They filed a wrongful death suit against both young men in May 2012. The young man in question has now admitted that he had sighted a target through his riflescope, but he fell over while attempting to aim, accidentally shooting his friend.

In this case, the victim's family members could seek financial compensation for wrongful death, loss of consort, pain and suffering, emotional distress and a variety of other claims. Money could also be used to pay for funeral expenses in connection with the son's death. The civil claims can be enacted even if the young men are not convicted of criminal charges.

Source:  www.greatfallstribune.com, "Plea deal reached in Malta boy's death" David Murray, Jun. 06, 2013

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