Hunter Hoeker, 63, of Jenison, Michigan, was sentenced Monday to 90 days in jail for the fatal shooting of William & Billy; Gort, Jr. during a squirrel hunting trip in February 2017 in Oceana County.
A hunter safety instructor charged with the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy while hunting squirrels in western Michigan was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Roger Hoeker, 63, of Jenison, was sentenced Monday after pleading uncontested to the charge of careless discharge of a firearm that resulted in injury or death.
Hoeker told the authorities at the time of the shooting in February 2017 that William & # 39; Billy & # 39; Gort, Jr. was hit in the back of the head by a bullet fired by Hoeker's rifle, after it bounced off a tree.
Hoeker apologized to Billy's family through his lawyer, and was escorted from the courtroom to the jail immediately after the hearing to begin serving his sentence.
His June trial for the same misdemeanor charge in the high court, which could have taken him to jail for up to two years, ended in a null judgment.
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Hoeker told the authorities at the time of the shooting that William & # 39; Billy & # 39; Gort, Jr. (pictured) was hit in the back of the head by a bullet fired by Hoeker's rifle, after it bounced off a tree
Billy (pictured) was hunting squirrels with Hoeker and another child when a bullet from Hoeker's 22-gauge rifle hit the teenager in the back of the head and stopped near the front of the head, according to a lawsuit. for wrongful death against outdoor Christianity by Billy's mother, Cassy Stevens
Hoeker was a director and youth mentor at Christianity Outdoors, the youth outreach program that organized the hunting trip that led to Billy's death.
The teenager was hunting squirrels with Hoeker and another child when a bullet from the 22-caliber Hoeker rifle hit the teenager on the back of the head and stopped near the front of the head, according to a wrongful death claim against Christianity . Outdoors by Billy's mother, Cassy Stevens.
The incident occurred in the Greenwood Township of Oceana County, on state land.
Both children wore the appropriate orange hunting protection equipment at the time they hit Billy. The teenager died in a hospital.
The insurance company Christianity Outdoors settled the claim for $ 1 million, payable to Billy's estate, with that agreement approved in June according to ABC News.
Stevens will receive almost $ 425,000 and Billy's younger sister will receive $ 150,000, and four other family members will split the remainder of the $ 1 million (less than the $ 335,000 fee that will be paid to The Law Office of Gerald R. Stahl).
The address of the extension program appears as the address of Hoeker, on Maplewood Drive, in Jenison.
Oceana County Federal Judge Robert D. Spring stopped Hoeker's criminal trial after it came to light that neither the defense nor the prosecution knew of the sheriff's office's report of the February 18, 2017, incident. reported M Live in June.
Before a new trial could be established, Hoeker and his defense team reached a plea agreement with the prosecution that resulted in the 90-day sentence.
Billy's family addressed Hoeker directly during the victim's impact statement with the teenager's grandfather, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Tom Ambrose, reprimanded Hoeker for what he referred to the failure to follow the "rules of engagement" of the hunt, which eventually led to the death of his grandson.
"You never shoot in the direction of anyone in the game, and if you do not know where everyone is, you do not squeeze the trigger," he said. & # 39; Any reasonable person knows this & # 39;
Billy Gort, Sr., the father of the murdered teenager, did not beat around the bush.
"You know, you killed my boy," he said. "You did not even say anything to tell me you care, to tell me you're sorry."
Oceana County prosecutor Joseph Bizon had initially pursued an involuntary involuntary manslaughter charge, but a court judge determined that Hoeker did not act with "gratuitous indifference" for the teen's life, so the minor charge remained, according to M Live.
If Hoeker had been tried for involuntary manslaughter, he would have faced a potential penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
In addition to his 90-day jail sentence, he will be placed on probation for one year.
Hoeker apologized to Billy's family through his lawyer, and was escorted from court to jail immediately after the hearing to begin serving his sentence; He will also be placed on probation for one year