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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2004

NEPHEW TESTIFIES AT HUNTING FATALITY HEARING

He says he told uncle of movement he thought was deer

Posted: Jan. 21, 2004

Sheboygan - The 15-year-old nephew of a man charged with killing his best friend in an after-hours hunting accident testified Wednesday that he had alerted his uncle to movement in the field.

"I said, 'I saw eyes,' " said Robert Weber, adding that his father, Ira Weber, immediately sounded a call to see whether they could flush the deer.

"It just kept walking toward us."

The boy's uncle, Mark Weber, 41, then loaded and fired his gun, shooting 33-year-old William Mundt of West Bend in the abdomen. Mundt later died of the wound.

Weber is charged with second-degree reckless homicide and could face a 30-year prison term in the Nov. 23 shooting if convicted. If he is found guilty of the felony charge, it is believed it would be the first such conviction for a hunting accident in the state.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Sheboygan County Circuit Court during which Mark Weber was bound over for trial, Robert Weber said he immediately knew there was a problem.

"I heard like yelling, screaming," he said. "I ran over to him, but I didn't see any blood at first."

Defense lawyer Gerald Boyle asked Robert Weber whether he had been sure it was a deer.

"I was very sure. I could make out the figure of a deer," the boy said.

Boyle then asked the boy whether he would have fired if he had been able to get to his gun.

"Yes, I would have taken the shot," Robert Weber responded.

At the time of the shooting of Mundt, Mark Weber and his 12-year-old son, Nicholas, and Robert Weber and his father were gathered on a farm on Highway S in the Town of Scott gutting a deer Mark Weber had shot.

When Mundt was shot, it was dark and several minutes after the end of legal hunting hours, according to witnesses.

Ira Weber testified Wednesday that he had seen Mundt at his brother Mark's home shortly before the shooting and had no reason to believe he would hike nearly a half mile to where the Webers were gutting the deer. According to a

criminal complaint, the only orange clothing Mundt wore was a cap.

Ira Weber said he was working on the deer when the shot was fired and told his brother someone had been shot.

Sheboygan County District Attorney John DeCecco asked Ira Weber whether he would have fired a gun at that time.

"I can't say really," Ira Weber responded. "You have to evaluate each situation. I just can't say."

Boyle told Circuit Judge L. Edward Stengel that his client should not be ordered to stand trial.

"He had no reason to believe that there was a human being there, one not wearing blaze orange," Boyle said. "The mere fact he fired a shot does not make this a felony. Accidents happen."

DeCecco disagreed, saying: "It doesn't matter if he thought it was a deer or if he believed it was a deer. He had a duty to identify his target. He didn't. He pulled the trigger when he shouldn't have, and Bill Mundt died."

Stengel said there was probable cause to believe a felony may have been committed and bound Weber over for trial. No arraignment date was set because Boyle immediately requested that a new judge be assigned to the case.

From the Jan. 22, 2004 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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