Hunter charged with manslaughter in death of Karen Wrentzel

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PARIS — A Hebron man charged Tuesday with manslaughter stemming from the fatal shooting of a Hebron woman while he was hunting told authorities he saw “this brown thing move,” but never saw the outline of a deer.

According to a sworn affidavit written by District Game Warden Anthony Gray, Robert Trundy, 38, said he could see “what he thought was the ‘ass of a deer’ with a tail, skinny legs and a possible glimpse of what he thought could have been part of a head or antler of a deer.”

Asked by the warden if he saw the outline of a deer, “Robert stated no,” according to the affidavit.

Karen Wrentzel, 34, died from a gunshot wound at the scene in the area of 490 Greenwood Mountain Road at about 10:30 on the morning of Oct. 28.

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It was opening day of deer season for resident hunters.

Gray wrote that he “observed that it was nearly impossible to observe and identify a human form, even when dressed in hunter orange,” if that person were to stand where Wrentzel had apparently been when she was fatally shot and the shooter were to stand where the shell casing was found. Trundy told Gray he had stood at that spot when he pulled the trigger, roughly 100 yards away.

Trundy shot a Browning, semi-automatic, 30-06 caliber rifle with no scope, Gray wrote. Trundy’s target screamed when he shot. The hunter “thought to himself, ‘deer don’t do that,'” according to the warden’s affidavit.

After Trundy had walked about three-quarters of the way to Wrentzel, he saw a rake leaning against a rock. “It was at that point he thought that he had shot someone,” Gray wrote.

Trundy couldn’t bring himself to walk the rest of the distance to Wrentzel, he told Gray.

“Honestly, I couldn’t go down there,” he told Gray. “If I don’t see it, it’s out of my mind.”

Trundy phoned his father, who was hunting in the area, to say he thought he had just shot someone.

Ralph Trundy, 69, told a warden he instructed his son to “go look” at his target, because “if it was a person, he had to call 911.” Ralph Trundy walked to where his son had seen the rake and discovered Wrentzel’s unresponsive body. He told Robert to call 911.

Rolling Wrentzel’s body over, Ralph Trundy said he could see a wound on her hip and tried to stop the bleeding. He attempted CPR.

The rifles belonging to father and son were taken by investigators. Wrentzel’s body was taken to Augusta for autopsy.

The next day, Chief Medical Examiner Mark Flomenbaum determined the manner of death was homicide and the cause of death was a gunshot wound of the lower torso. Dr. Flomenbaum found extensive fractures of the pelvis and lacerations of major arteries. A bullet was recovered from the wound site. It was sent to the Maine State Police Crime Lab for testing.

A game warden who mapped the scene said the distance between shooter and victim was slightly more than 200 feet.

According to Maine law, “a hunter may not shoot at a target without, at that point in time, being certain that it is the wild animal . . . sought.”

Gray wrote in his affidavit: “At no point did Robert have an essentially unobstructed view of the head and torso of a deer.”

Trundy spoke with Gray about the events of the shooting after he had read him his Miranda rights from a warning card, Gray wrote.

Trundy’s attorney, Leonard Sharon, said Tuesday the defense will contend the shooting was a tragic accident and that Trundy’s conduct “wasn’t reckless based upon all of the facts as he perceived them.”

Sharon said he was aware of the charge, but hadn’t reviewed the affidavit.

Sharon said the defense is aware of Maine’s hunting law that requires a hunter to perform certain tasks to determine whether his behavior is negligent or reckless.

“According to my client, he did make those observations,” Sharon said. “I just don’t know what facts they would have to the contrary that would indicate that his actions were reckless.”

Trundy is scheduled to make his initial appearance at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Oxford County Superior Court. He won’t be asked to enter a plea on the felony charge. Prosecutors are likely to present Trundy’s case to a grand jury, which must hand up an indictment in order for Trundy to proceed to trial on the charge.

Trundy has no prior criminal record, according to the Maine State Bureau of Identification.

Wrentzel’s family said that the shooting occurred on Wrentzel’s land along Greenwood Mountain Road, near the Minot town line, while she was digging for gemstones.

Wrentzel had moved to Hebron the day before she was shot, and had been intending to spend the winter there to help her grandmother.

Private land that is not posted can be accessed for hunting by anyone, according to Cpl. John MacDonald, the warden service spokesman. Asking permission is recommended but is not required.

According to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Trundy was issued an any-deer permit for the 2017 season, which means he could shoot any deer, including deer without antlers.

Under Maine law, a manslaughter charge is brought against someone when they acted recklessly, or with criminal negligence, to cause the death of another human being. The felony crime is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Trundy is being represented by Sharon and John Clifford V.

This shooting was Maine’s first fatal hunting incident since 2012 in Wales.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

Karen Wrentzel, 34, of Hebron will be remembered for her kindness and passion for life, according to her family.  Wrentzel was killed Saturday morning by a hunter while on her land. (Jon Spofford photo)

The criminal complaint filed by the Attorney General’s Office, Robert Trundy, 38, of Hebron, is charged wit… by sunjournal on Scribd

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  • It’s about time they released his name!! Hope the charges stick and he does some time and never gets another hunting license again.

    • Sarah

      This poor woman was on her own land. Sincere condolences to her family and friends. He probably won’t get much. Public Record: In 2012, W. Briggs of Windham shot hunter P. Kolofsky of Sebago. The 62-year-old Briggs said he saw deer antlers moving in the brush and fired, killing Kolofsky, who was also hunting and wearing blaze orange. His sentence was only three years in prison, with all but 45 days suspended. I wonder how much time he actually served behind bars. Briggs also got a 10 year suspension of his hunting license. That is too little time and not much more than a slap on the fingers.

      • Tibbetts Bruce

        Sarah, they have changed the laws since then i am told. We will see. Thank you for your condolences for the family.

      • FrankE

        Your omitting another hunter related death in 2012, in this case the offending hunter was clearly shooting to close to a residence, was drinking, and also failed to identify his target. The guilty hunter was also hunting on private property without permission, the victim, was also hunting, on his own property and was wearing blaze orange. With all this against the assailant, the DA still opted for a plea deal out of fear of losing a jury verdict.
        Doesn’t matter though, in the end, the victims new wife lost everything because the assailant had no insurance. She lost her new husband, their new home and everything she owned. Funny how having the right defense attorney can help a guy out that way…………

        • Sarah

          Thank you. I am sorry. I had no idea. I happened to come across the above in another article. How many lives have to be destroyed? I think that the powers-that-be keep a tight lid on as much of this as they possibly can. They want it to appear as though this is an anomaly. They want to sell as many hunting licenses as possible. I think that there is a lot of what the “authorities’ deem as accidents that the public never hears about. It is not clear to me if there are any witnesses. My instincts are that there were only 2 people who knew for sure, and one of them cannot speak for herself. From what I have read in the affidavit, Trundy said that he shot, then heard a scream. I have wondered if it is also possible that she saw him, the gun, and then screamed to let him know that she was there. We only have what he said. I believe he and his father had 1/2 hour or more, to come up with a story that could sound plausible. As for the lawyers representing these negligent “hunters,” well money talks and all they want to do is win, at any cost. I fear for what this family will be subjected too in the courtroom, because the lawyer is going to put the victim on trial, yet again. How about going back to 1988, Karen Wood. She too was blamed by many, who thought she should have known better. The man who shot her held her and cried. He did not call for help and because he was “a good guy’ was acquitted. I would like to know if the forensic investigation showed that there were any signs of deer in the area where Karen was found. Why was that done the next day? How about technicalities? I noticed in the affidavit that Trundy was listed as Trudy at least twice. My husband and I concur. The lives of the victims are the ones that are totally destroyed and it is the victim who is typically put on trial. ;-(

          • FrankE

            In a few years this will be old news. I’m sorry to say it this way, but this is life. I know the Defense Lawyer has a job to do but I feel they also have a duty to see to it that the damage their client induced is compensated.
            There are so many little things that will never appear in the paper, things that might cause you to pull your hair out. All I know is it is 2017, it happened again. My friend of thirty years is still a shell of the woman she has always been. Here it is five years on and she still can’t bring herself to function normally. She’s been treated medically as well as psychologically. She has been diagnosed with PTSD. It makes no difference. The shooter will be free within a few years, My friend will be a prisoner in her own world for the rest of her life. I just wish there was more help and understanding for the victims left behind. After all the news trucks have left after all the court hearings have run their course, my friend is still unable to work, she can barely function outside the home. This wasn’t her fault,yet she is left to deal with the after effects of this crime, with no health insurance.
            I’m sure plea deals have their place in the court system. I just feel that some crimes deserve punishment that shows a sliver of respect for the living victims…….

          • sedna101

            Maybe she should get a hunting license…

    • Just read the criminal complaint….the killer (Robert R. Trundy, 38, of Hebron), thought he had shot someone YET DIDN’T go to check to see!!! She screamed so maybe there would have been something he could have done to stem the bleeding, his father checked but that was 10-15 minutes after she was shot…He should have been charged with more than manslaughter. I’d like to be on the jury…

      • FrankE

        Frank, this guy may very well never see a jury. Trust me, I went through this back in 2012 helping console a friend of mine whose husband was also shot on his own property. Almost the same outline except in my friends case the victim received immediate first aid, which unfortunately did no good.

        No this will drag on for three to four years until everyone gets tired of appearing at hearings and at just the right moment a plea deal will be offered. Because a victory, no matter how small is always better when it’s guaranteed as apposed to the possibility of a jury acquittal. If the guy ever does any time at all it will be one to three years, most likely suspended. Emotions don’t have any place in a courtroom. Everyone wanted to set an example of the guy who killed my friend, but that soon simmered down to lets just plea this down and get it over with. It’s human nature. This will all be nothing but an afterthought in about five years, trust me. For the family of Ms. Wentzel, I feel your pain, and wish I could give you a better outlook, but in the end politics always wins out to emotion. Just remember one thing they told us at the very beginning, try not to read the papers and don’t watch TV News reports. Believe me that was sound advise……………………..

    • Lisa L.

      I completely agree. As a hunter myself I could NEVER imagine pullimg the trigger of a gun being unsure…without a shadoe of a doubt I saw a DEER HEAD. This was STUPID and reckless and a precious life was taken because of it.

  • GentlyCurved

    I’ve been deer hunting for 35 years and have never considered firing at something I wasn’t 100% sure was a deer. There should be a mandatory 10 year sentence for killing someone you “thought was a deer”. Perhaps these idiots would think twice before shooting if it actually had consequences. I have a friend who in 1990 wearing an orange coverall was shot at 30 yds. with a 12g slug in the back and had minor injuries by the grace of God……and the idiot hunter said he was color-blind and was shooting at a deer behind him…..got acquitted and hunted the same season. May this victim RIP.

  • Katahdin

    He called his dad while she lay bleeding to death.
    30 years in prison isn’t enough punishment for this cold blooded killer.

  • MaineCWP

    Maine CWP Training

    (((ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOUR TARGET IS AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT’S BEYOND YOUR TARGET ~ IF YOU DON’T, DON’T PULL THE TRIGGER)))
    KEY DEFINITIONS IN THE MAINE CRIMINAL CODE: Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE
    Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE
    Part 2: SUBSTANTIVE OFFENSES
    Chapter 9: OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON

    §211. Reckless conduct
    1. A person is guilty of reckless conduct if he recklessly creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person.
    http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/…/title17-Asec211.html
    Part 1: GENERAL PRINCIPLES
    Chapter 2: CRIMINAL LIABILITY; ELEMENTS OF CRIMES https://www.mainelegislature.org/…/statutes/17-A/title17-As…

    §35. Definitions of culpable states of mind
    1. “Intentionally.”
    A. A person acts intentionally with respect to a result of the person’s conduct when it is the person’s conscious object to cause such a result. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    B. A person acts intentionally with respect to attendant circumstances when the person is aware of the existence of such circumstances or believes that they exist. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    [ 2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD) .]

    2. “Knowingly.”
    A. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of the person’s conduct when the person is aware that it is practically certain that the person’s conduct will cause such a result. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    B. A person acts knowingly with respect to attendant circumstances when the person is aware that such circumstances exist. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    [ 2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD) .]

    3. “Recklessly.”
    A. A person acts recklessly with respect to a result of the person’s conduct when the person consciously disregards a risk that the person’s conduct will cause such a result. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    B. A person acts recklessly with respect to attendant circumstances when the person consciously disregards a risk that such circumstances exist. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    C. For purposes of this subsection, the disregard of the risk, when viewed in light of the nature and purpose of the person’s conduct and the circumstances known to the person, must involve a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable and prudent person would observe in the same situation. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    [ 2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD) .]

    4. “Criminal negligence.”
    A. A person acts with criminal negligence with respect to a result of the person’s conduct when the person fails to be aware of a risk that the person’s conduct will cause such a result. [2007, c. 173, §8 (AMD).]
    B. A person acts with criminal negligence with respect to attendant circumstances when the person fails to be aware of a risk that such circumstances exist.

    • Tibbetts Bruce

      Well said Sir…if you have a single shred of doubt.. do not have at least 4 point of identification of target and what is beyond… do not take the shot.

  • Dominofrost

    It kinda sounds like he waited until she was dead so he could get away with it… She might have had a different story…

    • Dominofrost

      His story was factually wrong even after he gave himself 20 minutes to get it right..

      • Sarah

        He stated that he heard her scream. He must have heard her call for help. When he called someone, it was his father and not 911. He never approached her, because he did not want it in his head! I suspect that the only reason why he did not flee the scene, is because someone may have seen him (or his truck) in the vicinity. He knew he was near the trailer. He thought he was shooting a deer “in the ass”. So many things are wrong with this scenario.

  • fairy whispers

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f8b7eadb98e3006526f96fddbf0133125033fa6cbe8660080351033e99077f0f.jpg Show support for Karen and her family in the days ahead. Everything about this is so tragically wrong.

  • DrPaulone

    I really believe these hunters are disturbed human beings. They enjoy going out and killing things..animals, people. Of course, hunters will say they kill so they can put something on the dinner table. Wrong….they just want to shoot things

    • Paul

      youre an idiot

  • Schroederville

    Disgusting. Hunting sucks. Period. I really hope justice is served and this man gets thrown in jail for a long long time.