2010 - Fatal hunting accident withdraws guilty plea; will take chances in court
January 19, 2012
By Matthew Kemeny, The Patriot-News
A Perry County withdraws guilty plea; will take chances in court
A Duncannon man accused of accidentally shooting and killing his
hunting partner with an illegally owned gun in November 2010 will
take his chances in court after he withdrew his guilty plea last
Kenneth D. Mutzabaugh, 53, told a judge he was not the person who
shot 53-year-old Hugh "Jim" McCord of Middle Paxton Township while
the pair were turkey hunting in Wheatfield Township, his former
attorney, Keith Kendall, said.
The trial starts Jan. 26 in Perry County Court. Jury selection
concluded this week.
Mutzabaugh pleaded guilty in October, where he admitted to
mistaking McCord for a turkey on Paradise Road. He was supposed to
be sentenced Jan. 9 before he changed his plea to not guilty,
District Attorney Chad Chenot said.
The plea deal reached with prosecutors included a jail sentence
of 22 months. Chenot called it a "fairly lenient deal." If
convicted, Mutzabaugh could get up to 5 years in prison, a 15-year
revocation of his hunting license and $10,000 in fines.
Mutzabaugh switched attorneys and is now being represented by
Christopher Basner. Basner's Newport office phone was disconnected
Mutzabaugh is charged with the game commission violation of
killing or injuring a human while hunting, a first degree
misdemeanor, and as a person prohibited from possessing a firearm, a
second degree felony. The gun violation is a result of Mutzabaugh's
1980 conviction for possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
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