Robert Heltzel III, 26, rural Wauseon, has been charged with negligent homicide and injuring persons while hunting, Scott Haselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney, announced last week.
Both charges are misdemeanors of the first degree and were filed in Eastern District Court, Friday, Jan. 31. An arraignment has been set for Thursday, Feb. 20 in Eastern District.
In a press release, Haselman said, “On Dec. 3, 2013, while hunting, Heltzel allegedly caused the death of Jacob Karamol, age 21, of Oregon, Ohio.”
Information released after the incident states investigators from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife found that Karamol was hunting deer with a group near St. Rt. 108 and Co. Rd. N in Royalton Township.
Karamol approached a hunter in a tree stand, who decided to climb down. The hunter tied a rope to his semi-automatic shotgun trigger guard and began to lower the gun. The gun was loaded, and the safety mechanism was not engaged.
As the hunter lowered the gun, the knot in the rope slipped, and touched the trigger. The gun fired.
The gun jerked and bounced at the end of the rope due to the recoil.
As a semi-automatic, it fires each time the trigger is actuated. As the gun moved around, it discharged two more times.
One of the shots struck Karamol, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Haselman noted the complaint against Heltzel “is merely an accusation, and that all criminal defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”