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MN - Hunter charged with manslaughter in death of teen

Jim Adams, Star Tribune
Last update: November 21, 2006

Hunter charged with manslaughter in death of teen A Maplewood man accused of killing a Buffalo, Minn., teenager said that he shot twice after detecting sounds and movements that led him to believe he was taking aim at a deer, according to criminal charges filed today in Aitkin County.

AITKIN, MINN. - The man accused of killing a Buffalo, Minn., teenager said that he shot twice after detecting sounds and movements that led him to believe he was taking aim at a deer, according to criminal charges filed today in Aitkin County against another hunter.

Steve Ferguson, 45, of Maplewood, was charged today with second-degree manslaughter in the death Saturday of Brandon Lanie, 14.

After shooting Lanie, the complaint said, Ferguson called police and waited at the scene. When sheriff's deputies arrived, Ferguson told them that he had shot Lanie in the head.

According to the complaint:  Ferguson said he was in a tree stand 15 feet up, heard the crunch of leaves crunch, heard movement and saw something brown. He shot twice, then hollered to another in the party that his aim was true.

After descending the stand, he came upon the body and realized that he had shot Brandon.

The charges say Brandon was wearing blaze orange hunting pants and coat, and a baseball-style cap.

According to County Sheriff Scott Turner, Lanie was walking through the woods just before 5 p.m. when Ferguson shot Lanie once in the head with his rifle. He was pronounced dead at the scene north of Mille Lacs Lake near Wealthwood Township in the southern part of the county.

Lanie had been spending the weekend in the county at his father's new cabin. A memorial fund in honor of Lanie will be set up at Buffalo's Klein Bank.

A visitation service will be held in Buffalo from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Peterson Chapel Funeral Home, 119 N. Central Av. The funeral service is at 11 a.m. Friday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Buffalo, 302 Ne. 2nd Street.

Jim Adams . 612-673-7658 . By JIM ADAMS jadams@startribune.com 

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