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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2005

HUNTER WHO ACCIDENTALLY SHOT PREGNANT WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO HUNTING LAW VIOLATIONS

Posted on Wed, Mar. 02, 2005

Associated Press

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A hunter who accidentally shot a pregnant woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating hunting laws, but declined to apologize to the victim.

Craig T. Wetzel, 46, of North Whitehall Township, was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay $2,700 in fines for the Nov. 30 shooting of Casey Burns, 18, also of North Whitehall Township.

Wetzel also lost hunting privileges for five to 10 years and will be required to pay $3,175 in restitution.

After the plea, Burns asked Wetzel if he was sorry. He remained silent. Burns began crying and said, "I just think that's really, really mean."

Burns was shot while she sat in a car in her driveway. She was seven months pregnant at the time and gave birth to a healthy girl, Hailey Alexis, last month.

Calling the sentence a "slap on the wrist," Burns' mother, Allie Dickinson, said she is planning a lawsuit against Wetzel. She said he should be held responsible for her daughter's hospital bills, which total more than $137,000, not including the cost of her rehabilitation.

Wetzel was chargd with hunting law violations because Lehigh County prosecutors concluded that his actions, while careless, were not criminal.

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