A hunter who authorities say accidentally shot and killed another hunter in Michigan's northeastern Lower Peninsula on the first day of the state's annual firearms deer season last year is facing charges.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports 45-year-old David Michael Barber was arraigned Wednesday in 86th District Court on charges including involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm causing injury or death.
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, Barber rejected a plea agreement.
Barber's lawyer Daniel Hartman offered "condolences to the family."
The state Department of Natural Resources has said conservation officers responded Nov. 15 to a reported hunting accident in near the Antrim County community of Alden. The DNR said 38-year-old Justin Beutel of the Midland County community of Sanford was pronounced dead at the scene.
The DNR has said the men were hunting separately.
"He was hunting on his family's private land and Justin always hunted on private land to feel safe. And he did feel safe there," said Theresa Schurman, Beutel's mom.
Beutel's wife, a former hunting safety instructor, said the experience has shaken her.
"I am scared when I go in the woods and I've never felt that before," Whitney Beutel said.
She said she is still working through her emotions at this time, but believes justice needs to be served.
"I feel like until after the sentencing, I can't tell you how I'm going to feel. I know it's not going to bring my husband back. But there needs to be consequences for the actions that he took," she said.
As for Schurman, she wants to thank law enforcement and the DNR for handling her son's case so swiftly. She hopes it leads to further action.
"I think that they have done justice by Justin. But we'll see. We'll let the courts now take its course and we're hoping in the end that justice is served for him," Schurman said.
Beutel's family said they have started a scholarship in his name at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute where Justin used to attend. So far they have raised $12,000.