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Car jacking hunter sentenced to life for murder

Reposted from National Trappers List

Background

David Van Dyne Sr. killed Randall McClellan with a shotgun after McClellan hunted deer. Van Dyne was driving to Buffalo when his car broke down in a cemetery on Route 104. He saw McClellan's parked car, waited for him to return, shot him three times and took his car.

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Michael Zeigler
Staff writer

(June 8, 2005) The brother of a hunter who was slain in Clarkson sought justice, not vengeance, Tuesday in Monroe County Court.

As David Van Dyne Sr. was ordered to spend life in prison without the possibility of parole for shooting Randall McClellan on Nov. 21, 1997, McClellan's brother, Eric McClellan, said he has forgiven Van Dyne.

Citing scriptures from the Old Testament and New Testament, including the words of Jesus in the Lord's Prayer, McClellan said Van Dyne's ultimate fate rests with God.

But he said the death would have been avoided if Van Dyne, who shot Randall McClellan for his car after his own car broke down, had asked his brother for help.

"If he had simply waited patiently by the roadside for the hunter in the field, and asked ... my brother would have gladly offered a helping hand," McClellan said.

Van Dyne, who was despondent over the breakup of his marriage and went on a binge of cocaine and alcohol abuse before he shot the 44- year-old McClellan, apologized to McClellan's family.

"Mr. McClellan did not die for a car or money; he died because I lost touch with the world, because I lost touch with God, and I lost my fight with alcohol and drugs," Van Dyne said.

Van Dyne, now 45, received the same sentence he received when he was first convicted of the homicide.

Judge Patricia D. Marks sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole when he pleaded guilty in 1999. But an appellate court set aside the conviction because Van Dyne pleaded guilty before prosecutors withdrew their intention to seek the death penalty against him.

In a trial that ended May 27, jurors convicted Van Dyne of first- and second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. They rejected Van Dyne's claim that he was too intoxicated to form the intent to commit murder.

Although Van Dyne has been a model prisoner and completed programs for control of alcoholism and violence, Marks said he is too dangerous to be considered for parole.

"The record ... suggests a strong possibility of re-offense," she said.

MZEIGLER@DemocratandChronicle.com



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