Prosecutors hope experts’ testimony in Wales hunting trial is excluded

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AUBURN — Prosecutors in the case of a shooting death in Wales two years ago say two experts hired by the defense shouldn’t be allowed to testify at trial.

A firearms expert from New Hampshire concluded in a written report that, in a November 2012 hunting incident, shooting victim Gerard Parent “negligently placed himself in the direct line of fire of the defendant’s rifle and, therefore, caused his own death,” according to a motion written by Assistant Attorney General John Alsop.

Toxicologist Dr. Richard Parent of Damariscotta concluded that the victim’s judgment and behavior were impaired at the time of the incident because he was found by medical examiners to have had a blood alcohol level of .07 percent at the time of his death, Alsop wrote in a motion to exclude Parent’s testimony.

Alsop wrote that concurrent causation is not at issue in the criminal charges against Christopher Austin, 43, of Wales, and neither is contributory nor comparative negligence.

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“The mental and physical condition of the victim is not an issue in the case,” Alsop wrote.

Alsop and defense attorney Scott Lynch are expected to argue their respective sides at a hearing scheduled Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Alsop said the expert testimony Lynch is seeking to allow at trial is “misleading and confusing to the jury” and is “not relevant to any issue in the case.”

Austin was charged with manslaughter, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He also was charged with discharging a firearm near a dwelling, a misdemeanor. He has denied the charges.

He is free on $5,000 cash bail. He was ordered not to have or use alcohol and have no contact with the family of Parent, who was 49 when he was killed.

According to the Maine Warden Service, Gerard Parent and Austin were shooting at the same deer in an area between East Road and Route 126. According to investigators, both were hunting with rifles. Austin twice fired his Remington 700, a .308-caliber rifle. A preliminary investigation revealed that Parent fired one shot. Austin’s second shot struck Parent and killed him, police said.

The incident was reported shortly before the end of the hunting day.

According to the state medical examiner’s office, Parent died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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