KY: Whitley County Magistrate Shot To Death by Felon While Turkey Hunting
April 7, 2010
Whitley Constable candidate killed in Wednesday hunting accident Police
say shooting apparently accidental, but nephew jailed for illegally
A Whitley County constable candidate apparently died while turkey hunting
Wednesday morning, and the man's hunting partner is behind bars for
illegally possessing a firearm.
Whitley County Chief Deputy Coroner Jerry Croley pronounced Dennis
"Russell" Meadors, 62, of 302 Goldbug Church Road, dead about 9 a.m. from a
The body will be taken to the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office in
Frankfort for autopsy.
The shooting was reported shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday near a residence
at 400 Concord Church Road.
Sheriff's Detective Lt. Chuck Davis, the lead investigating officer in
the case, said he is tentatively ruling the death as an hunting accident and
that he has uncovered no evidence so far to indicate it was intentional. The
case is still open and being investigated though and further charges could
still be filed against Meadors hunting partner and nephew, William Sulfridge.
Sulfridge, 38, of 1336 Oak Ridge Church Road, was arrested and charged
with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and lodged in the Whitley
County Detention Center.
Sulfridge shot Meadors one time in the back near his side and his left
shoulder blade. Both men had 12 gauge shotguns, Davis said.
Sulfridge initially told police that he didn't have a firearm with him,
but later admitted that to having one. Sulfridge told police that he lied
because of the prior felony conviction and because he wasn't allowed to have
one, Davis said.
"When he was interviewed, he told me a completely different story. I
confronted him with it. Some of the things he was saying just didn't make
sense," Davis said.
Three-Point Volunteer Fire Department, the Williamsburg-Whitley County
Rescue Squad, Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses, and
Sheriff's Capt. Todd Shelley assisted at the scene.
Davis said that the volunteers helped search the scene for Sulfridge's
shotgun and a spent shotgun shell, which were both later recovered. The
victim's shotgun was recovered loaded with one spent round.
The county's four-wheel drive mule was used to remove the body from the
scene to the corner's office vehicle, Davis said.
Davis said that a third person was in the area, who lived nearby, and is
also a potential witness in the case. He wasn't hunting or with the other
Turkey hunting season doesn't officially begin until April 17. Davis said
that he has already spoken with Department of Fish and Wildlife officials,
who may charge Sulfridge with hunting out of season.
It's possible Sulfridge could also face second-degree manslaughter or
reckless homicide charges, but Davis said a decision on that won't be made
until the investigation is complete.
Meadors was one of two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for
Davis and the coroner's office are continuing the investigation.
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