A four-day trial for a 44-year-old Wisconsin man charged with criminally negligent homicide has been set for Sept. 13.
Douglas Jones of South Wayne, Wisc., who is charged in the hunting death of lifelong friend Gerald Holverson, appeared in District Court for an arraignment hearing Friday.
District Court Judge Michael O'Hara set the trial for Sept. 13 and a pretrial conference for Aug. 13, which is the last day the District Attorney's Office can extend a plea offer.
Attorney Sherman Romney said Friday that Jones was prepared to enter an innocent plea to the homicide charge. The district attorney says Jones mistook Holverson for an elk in the early morning of Sept. 20 and shot him with a muzzleloader.
Romney said he thought four days would be needed for the trial and stated it could take longer than usual to set a jury because of the publicity surrounding the case.
O'Hara set a motions hearing for July 19. Jones will have to appear in court for all three court dates.
More than three months after the shooting, the DA's Office filed charges against Jones for criminally negligent homicide. He was issued a felony summons in January and was asked to appear in Routt County Court on Feb. 17.
Romney had requested that Jones' first appearance be postponed for six weeks so the defendant and DA's Office could work out a plea agreement. Garrecht postponed that hearing until March 23.
During the March 23 appearance, Romney said his client was not willing to accept the DA's offer and planned to take the case to trial. Romney would not say what the plea offer was.
On Sept. 20, Holverson, also 44 of South Wayne, died from a black-powder gunshot wound.
Jones and Holverson 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 County.
Jones told investigators he heard a noise in the brush and said he saw an elk with maybe six points, a DA's report states. But what Jones fired at on that dim and foggy morning was Holverson, whose only brightly colored clothing was an orange hat.
Holverson died from a lacerated right lung and heart, the Routt County Coroner's report stated.
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