PARIS — Robert Trundy was indicted Friday on two felony charges in the shooting death of Karen Wrentzel on Oct. 28, including manslaughter, after investigators concluded he failed to identify his target while hunting.
He was also indicted on a charge of failing to provide aid to a person and report a hunting accident.
Wrentzel died from a gunshot wound while on her property along Greenwood Mountain Road at about 10:30 a.m., after being shot by Trundy. It was opening day of deer season for resident hunters.
The 34-year-old woman had moved to Hebron the day before her death and had planned to stay for the winter to help care for her grandmother, Beverly Spofford.
Wrentzel’s family said she had been digging for gemstones when she was shot.
According to a sworn statement by District Game Warden Anthony Gray, Trundy 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.”
Trundy shot Wrentzel using a Browning semi-automatic, 30-06 caliber rifle from about 100 yards away, Gray wrote. The rifle was not equipped with a scope.
Last month the Warden Service charged Trundy, 38, of Hebron with manslaughter after finding probable cause for that crime; Friday’s action by an Oxford County grand jury formalizes that charge and adds the second felony of failing to aid and report.
Trundy’s attorney, Scott Lynch, said he took exception to the allegation that Trundy failed to provide aid.
“Anybody who’s coached Little League or had some of the most basic first responder training knows that the CPR guidelines, the care-rendering guidelines, basically require a division of labor — that is, that somebody call to get the professionals there while somebody else tends to the injured party,” Lynch said Friday night.
“I think the facts are going to be undisputed at trial that this division of labor happened,” Lynch said. “Robert Trundy’s father, who in fact had some training in CPR, rendered the assistance after instructing the son to go where he could get a good cellphone signal to summon the professionals to the scene. That’s exactly what happened.”
On Nov. 8, Trundy appeared in Oxford County Superior Court on the initial charge where bail was set at $2,500, which has been paid.
Bail conditions for Trundy include no use or possession of firearms, bows or other dangerous weapons, no hunting, and no contact with witnesses in the case.
He has not yet entered a plea.
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.”
According to Gray’s affidavit, “At no point did Robert have an essentially unobstructed view of the head and torso of a deer.”
Trundy, who held an any-deer permit for the 2017 hunting season, has no prior criminal record.
After November’s bail hearing, Lynch said his client intends to plead not guilty and that law enforcement’s account of what happened is incomplete and “somewhat of a false narrative about the assistance that was rendered or not.”
During the wardens’ investigation, Trundy told authorities he saw “this brown thing move,” but never saw the outline of a deer.
According to the arrest affidavit, Wrentzel screamed when she was shot. Trundy told investigators he “thought to himself, ‘Deer don’t do that.’”
Trundy also told investigators that he had walked about three-quarters of the way to Wrentzel when he saw a yard rake leaning against a rock. “It was at that point he thought that he had shot someone,” according to investigators.
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 then walked to where his son had seen the rake and discovered Wrentzel’s unresponsive body. He told Robert to call 911.
The elder Trundy then went to Wrentzel, saw the wound on her hip and tried to stop the bleeding. He also attempted CPR.
According to the affidavit, Robert Trundy estimated it took 3 to 4 minutes for his father to arrive at the scene; Ralph Trundy told investigators it took him 10 to 15 minutes to reach his son’s location.
Chief Medical Examiner Mark Flomenbaum later determined her death was the result of a gunshot wound to the lower torso, which caused extensive fractures of the pelvis and lacerations of major arteries.
Under Maine law, a manslaughter charge is brought against someone when they act 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 and a maximum $50,000 fine.
Maine law also requires someone who knows or “has reason to know” that they have caused injury to another person by firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow while hunting to make themselves known to the victim, render first aid and then notify a game warden or other law enforcement officer as quickly as possible.
Failure to do these things is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Robert Trundy appears in Oxford County Superior Court on Nov. 8 after being charged with manslaughter in a fatal shooting in Hebron in October. An Oxford County grand jury added a second felony charge Friday of failing to provide aid to Karen Wrentzel after she was shot. (Sun Journal file photo)