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CT: Farmer gets probation for shooting deer and neighbor's bed

November 7, 2009

Farmer gets probation for shooting deer and neighbor's bed

GOSHEN Score one for the deer.

It looks like they'll have their choice of red or white after a local farmer who shot a deer to keep it from eating his grape vines last summer was ordered to put away his guns.

Manuel Miranda was sentenced Friday in Litchfield's Bantam Court to probation and ordered not to use a firearm for two years.

Miranda said he believed he was lawfully protecting his crop. Fed up with hungry deer eating his grape vines, the vineyard owner grabbed his shotgun July 23 and fired a charge of buckshot, a shell containing pellets that look like large BBs. One or more of the 11 pellets in the shell he fired killed the deer. A stray pellet went through an open window and lodged in the headboard of Reggi and Bruce Gerber's son's bedroom at Woodridge Lake.

State police who answered the Gerbers' complaint found Miranda, who admitted that he shot the deer. He was charged with negligent hunting, violation of hunting regulations and reckless endangerment.

Miranda Vineyards is adjacent to Woodridge Lake, a planned community of homes built on small lots, a popular retreat for many part-time residents from urban areas.

In what Miranda's defense attorney Al Mencuccini described as a clash of cultures and Judge Cara F. Eschuk described as a clash of land uses, the two sides argued their cases for nearly an hour Friday during a hearing on whether to grant Miranda accelerated rehabilitation, a special form of probation available to first-time offenders.

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