A Wisconsin man charged with criminally negligent homicide plans to plead innocent in the Sept. 20 shooting death of a hunting companion.
Douglas Jones, 44 of South Wayne, Wis., had his first court appearance Tuesday in Routt County Court.
The District Attorney's Office alleges that Jones mistook Gerald Holverson for an elk in the early morning hours of Sept. 20 and shot him with a muzzleloader while the two were hunting with a group of people in South Routt County.
Jones' attorney, Sherman Romney, told Judge James Garrecht that Jones plans to plead innocent and take the case to trial.
Garrecht bound the case over to district court and set an arraignment hearing for 9 a.m. April 9.
Jones will have to make a return trip from Wisconsin to appear for his second court hearing, Romney said.
On Jan. 6, the District Attorney's Office filed charges accusing Jones of criminally negligent homicide. Jones was given a felony summons and asked to appear in court Feb. 17.
Romney had requested that Jones' first appearance be postponed for six weeks so the defendant and district attorney could work out a plea agreement. Garrecht postponed that hearing until Tuesday.
In court Tuesday, Romney said his client was not willing to accept the district attorney's offer and planned to take the case to trial. Romney would not say what the plea offer involved.
On Sept. 20, Holverson, also 44 of South Wayne, Wis., died from a black-powder gunshot wound.
Jones and Holverson, who were lifelong friends, were part of a six-person hunting party on Bureau of Land Management land about a mile west of Waller Reservoir in the King Mountain area of South Routt.
Jones told investigators he heard a noise in the brush and said he saw an elk with maybe six points, according to the district attorney's report. But what Jones fired at on the reportedly dim and foggy morning was Holverson. The only brightly colored clothing Holverson was wearing was an orange hat, according to reports.
Holverson died from a lacerated right lung and heart, according to the Routt County Coroner's report.
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