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OK: Man shot to death while hunting

October 26, 2009

Man shot to death while hunting

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has been asked to look into a Saturday hunting-related shooting that took the life of a Hartshorne-area man.

Latimer County Sheriff Israel Beauchamp identified the shooting victim as John Anthony Morgan, 44. Morgan was of the Hartshorne area, but lived on the Latimer County side of the county line with Pittsburg County, according to the OSBI.

Beauchamp identified the shooter as Jack Zearley, also of the Hartshorne area. No arrests have been made, the sheriff said around 9 this morning.

Investigators are looking at the details of what occurred and are awaiting the details of an autopsy from the state Medical Examiner’s office, said OSBI spokesperson Jessica Brown.

At this point, the sheriff expects the shooting to be ruled an accident, but he said there is the possibility some type of non-murder charge will be filed.

The shooting occurred around 6 p.m. Saturday on Gowen Mountain, according to authorities.

Sheriff Beachamp said Morgan and Zearley were friends and the two men were hunting together when Morgan was shot.

“He was shot one time in the throat by a high-powered rifle, not a muzzle-loader,” Beauchamp said. Black powder deer hunting season is now under way.

“The victim was not wearing orange,” the sheriff said.

Beauchamp said that according to information related to investigators, “The circumstances were that he (Zearley) was firing at a deer that was in-between them.”

“He heard a sound he had never heard before and found he shot his friend,” the sheriff said, based on information gathered by investigators.

The sheriff asked the OSBI to help with the case. Beauchamp noted it’s still early in the investigation and indicated more decisions will be made pending the medical examiner’s report.

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