German man charged after 1 person dies in Manitoba hunting incident

https://www.chvnradio.com/articles/german-man-charged-after-1-person-dies-in-manitoba-hunting-incident

Written by Taylor Brock Thursday, Oct 07 2021, 2:09 PM

A suspect is in court after a Tuesday-night hunting incident.

RCMP Manitoba says two men were hunting separately in a wooded area off of Silver Bridge Road, south of Elma, a community roughly 70 kilometres east of Winnipeg, on Tuesday before they were called about a shooting.

Police say at around 7:55 p.m. they were called to the area. When they arrived, they found a 59-year-old man from Rosengart shot dead. They say the victim was shot by a 45-year-old German citizen man. The two did not know each other. 

The suspect is being charged with Manslaughter, appearing in court Thursday. 

Lac du Bonnet RCMP, Major Crime Services, RCMP Forensic Identification Services, and Manitoba Conservation Officer Service are investigating. 

Ludington Man Dead After Hunting Accident in Mason Co.

Friday, October 15th 2021, 3:36 PM EDTBy Erin HatfieldPlay Video


https://www.yournewsnet.com/story/44972823/ludington-man-dead-after-hunting-accident-in-mason-co

A Ludington man passed away Thursday night due to a hunting accident.

At 10:08 PM, emergency crews were called to the 4700 block of West Decker Road in Mason County’s Victory Township for a reported of a hunter who had passed away.

Deputies arrived to find a 48 year-old man deceased under his tree stand.

The stand was located approximately 20 feet in the tree with his hunting gear still in the stand.

His wife, who went to check on her husband after he failed to return for an evening of hunting, found him.

The case remains under investigation, but no foul play is suspected.Play Video


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OKC area doctor dies in apparent hunting accident

https://www.poteaudailynews.com/news/okc-area-doctor-dies-in-apparent-hunting-accident/article_4e231bd0-278d-11ec-835e-cfe02e2cc01d.html

  • David Seeley
  • Oct 7, 2021
  • An Oklahoma City area doctor apparently died in a hunting accident Saturday on Poteau Mountain.

According to the statement from LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Bradley Warren, the LC Sheriff’s Department received a call of a hunting accident on Poteau Mountain.

Warren’s report said when Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived, they found Mohammad Faisal Khanh on the ground close to his tree stand and was deceased.

According to Warren’s report, Khan was bowhunting and appeared to have a wound to one of his legs, which was apparently to have been caused by one of his arrows.

Warren’s report said the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation was called, and both the ODWC and the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department are working the investigation — which was still ongoing as of press time. He also said it was Khan’s hunting partner who found him, but Warren did not have the hunting partner’s name.

Warren said the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office had staff fly down to get Khan’s body and take it back to Tulsa for an autopsy. Warren said the ME’s report was still being filed as of press time.

Bow hunter fatally shot in San Juan National Forest

Incident occurred Friday morning, Dolores County sheriff saysBy Jim Mimiaga Journal staff writerFriday, Sep 17, 2021 6:31 Updated Friday, Sep. 17, 2021 8:11

A bow hunter was fatally wounded in the area of the Kilpacker Trail of Dolores County, according to the Sheriff’s Office. (Courtesy Scott Simmons)Courtesy Scott Simmons

An archery hunter was fatally shot Friday morning in the San Juan National Forest near the Kilpacker trailhead north of Rico, according to the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office.

A news release from Sheriff Don Wilson on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, said the office received a call of a hunting accident about 10:48 a.m. Friday.

Two black powder rifle hunters wearing reflective clothing were hunting in the area, and an archery hunter was fatally wounded, according to the news release, time-stamped at 2:19 p.m.

“The incident is currently under investigation with our partners at Colorado Bureau of Investigations, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, and San Juan National Forest law enforcement,” release stated. “Our search and rescue teams from Rico and Dove Creek are currently in the area with Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office.”

No information on the victim or people involved were provided.

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said three deputies have been assigned to assist in the situation. Mounted patrol horses are also on standby.

The archery hunter was reportedly accidentally shot by one of the black powder rifle hunters, Nowlin said. The victim was not hunting with the other two hunters, he said.

Police identify man who drowns in duck hunting accident

https://plattevalley.newschannelnebraska.com/story/44676381/man-drowns-while-duck-hunting-in-north-platte

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says they recovered the body of a man from the Fremont Slough Wildlife Area near North Platte Monday morning. Monday, September 6th 2021, 2:36 PM CDTUpdated: Wednesday, September 8th 2021, 11:03 AM CDTBy News Channel Nebraska

Image

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A man is dead after drowning in central Nebraska.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says they recovered the body of a man from the Fremont Slough Wildlife Area near North Platte Monday morning. 

The initial call was made Sunday night from the area. The caller told authorities a man was duck hunting and swam out to get a downed bird. 

He reportedly went under and never surfaced. https://cee125880cc106554405f398802832eb.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Authorities have identified the victim as 21-year-old Brandan Freeman of North Platte. 

The case is considered accidental and no foul play suspected. 

Beloved fisherman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria from oyster cut

https://nypost.com/2021/08/06/fisherman-dies-due-to-flesh-eating-bacteria-from-oyster-cut/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

By Ben Cost

August 6, 2021 | 11:30amPopular Texas fishing guide Raymond “Skipper” H. Mock died after contracting a “flesh-eating” disease from an oyster cut.Facebook

A popular Texas fishing-boat guide tragically died last month after contracting a ravenous “flesh-eating” bacteria from a seemingly innocuous wound.

South Padre Island’s Raymond “Skipper” H. Mock, 61, had reportedly been infected with vibriosis, or fish poisoning — a bacterial infection most commonly associated with eating raw or undercooked seafood or exposing open wounds to water, the Houston Chronicle reported. Family and friends believe he most likely picked up the flesh-ravaging microbes through an oyster cut, according to Newsweek.

The fisherman officially died July 30 due to organ failure caused by sepsis, a “life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues,” per the Mayo Clinic.

“It’s a very invasive disease,” said Dr. Sandra Lozano, a physician with the Texas Department of State Health Services. https://7092d8cd98505a801fbfdaf0b38f835e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Mock founded the Catch the Fish Charter Service after graduating from high school.

Mock had spent almost his entire life in San Padre, where he learned fishing from his grandfather, according to his obituary. After graduating high school, the avid angler started the Catch A Fish Charter Service in 1982, whereupon he became a renowned figure in the fishing community. Over the course of his angling career, Skipper won several fishing tournaments and helped turn Cameron County into a fishing mecca.

Mock’s untimely passing prompted an outpouring of support from his friends and former clients.

“Captain Skipper Mock, my very special friend and brother for over thirty years. Fondly considered a special member of my family,” wrote close friend John Dargan on Facebook. “A man of steel with a heart of gold. The best of the best sea captains you could ever hope to fish with. Rest In Peace Skipper. We will remember and think of you each and every day.”https://7092d8cd98505a801fbfdaf0b38f835e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Mock helped establish Cameron County as a sought-after fishing destination.

Another pal Joseph Farah added, “Sad to hear that a great Guide and Captain down in South Padre’ Capt Skipper Mock, passed away from the complications of a flesh eating virus he contracted from a cut from oysters.

“It has always been a very serious deal and very fast moving,” he continued. “Any time you have a cut or area that is getting infected or painful quickly after being in the bay waters do not hesitate.”

Indeed, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, a wound-infiltrating Vibrio vulnificus proves fatal for about 1 in 5 people, while others often require intensive care or even limb amputations.

Beloved fisherman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria from oyster cut

By Ben Cost

August 6, 2021 | 11:30amPopular Texas fishing guide Raymond “Skipper” H. Mock died after contracting a “flesh-eating” disease from an oyster cut.Facebook

A popular Texas fishing-boat guide tragically died last month after contracting a ravenous “flesh-eating” bacteria from a seemingly innocuous wound.

South Padre Island’s Raymond “Skipper” H. Mock, 61, had reportedly been infected with vibriosis, or fish poisoning — a bacterial infection most commonly associated with eating raw or undercooked seafood or exposing open wounds to water, the Houston Chronicle reported. Family and friends believe he most likely picked up the flesh-ravaging microbes through an oyster cut, according to Newsweek.

The fisherman officially died July 30 due to organ failure caused by sepsis, a “life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues,” per the Mayo Clinic.

“It’s a very invasive disease,” said Dr. Sandra Lozano, a physician with the Texas Department of State Health Services. https://7092d8cd98505a801fbfdaf0b38f835e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Mock founded the Catch the Fish Charter Service after graduating from high school.

Mock had spent almost his entire life in San Padre, where he learned fishing from his grandfather, according to his obituary. After graduating high school, the avid angler started the Catch A Fish Charter Service in 1982, whereupon he became a renowned figure in the fishing community. Over the course of his angling career, Skipper won several fishing tournaments and helped turn Cameron County into a fishing mecca.

Mock’s untimely passing prompted an outpouring of support from his friends and former clients.

“Captain Skipper Mock, my very special friend and brother for over thirty years. Fondly considered a special member of my family,” wrote close friend John Dargan on Facebook. “A man of steel with a heart of gold. The best of the best sea captains you could ever hope to fish with. Rest In Peace Skipper. We will remember and think of you each and every day.”https://7092d8cd98505a801fbfdaf0b38f835e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Mock helped establish Cameron County as a sought-after fishing destination.

Another pal Joseph Farah added, “Sad to hear that a great Guide and Captain down in South Padre’ Capt Skipper Mock, passed away from the complications of a flesh eating virus he contracted from a cut from oysters.

“It has always been a very serious deal and very fast moving,” he continued. “Any time you have a cut or area that is getting infected or painful quickly after being in the bay waters do not hesitate.”

Indeed, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, a wound-infiltrating Vibrio vulnificus proves fatal for about 1 in 5 people, while others often require intensive care or even limb amputations.

Mock with a massive weakfish.

Bucks County hunter, who first thought he shot a groundhog at Nockamixon State Park, will spend 7-20 years in prison for fatally shooting teenager

https://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-nws-kenneth-heller-sentencing-20210707-vb7ynagi5vejdf2odjrthgwiw4-story.html

By LEIF GREISSTHE MORNING CALL |JUL 07, 2021 AT 6:47 PM

Jason Kutt was watching the sunset with his girlfriend at Nockamixon State Park in October. More than 500 feet away, Kenneth Troy Heller raised his rifle and fired.

The .17-caliber bullet hit Kutt in the neck. He died two days later. On Wednesday in a Bucks County courtroom, Heller learned his punishment for the fatal shot: seven to 20 years in state prison.Advertisement

Kutt’s parents, Ronald and Dana Kutt, spoke before the sentencing. Ronald Kutt’s voice wavered with emotion and his eyes teared up as he described how his heart will never heal.

“The biggest thing I’d do would be to hug him and tell him I love him one more time,” he said. “This was something that didn’t ever need to happen.”

Authorities said Heller, 52, of Warminster Township,did not know Kutt and the shooting was an accident. District Attorney Matt Weintraub said at the time of the shooting Heller was about 515 feet away, with only Kutt’s head visible against the setting. Heller said Wednesday he believed he was shooting at a groundhog, despite a prohibition of hunting them in the park.

Jason Kutt.
Jason Kutt.

More than 30 of Kutt’s friends and family attended the sentencing, tearing up and holding on to each other as they listened to the 911 call made by Kutt’s girlfriend that was played during a presentation by Chief Prosecutor Chris W. Rees.Advertisement

In the call, she said she saw the hunter walk away even after she screamed for help. A 911 operator was teaching her how to perform CPR over the phone so she could try to save Kutt’s life.

Before the sentencing, Kutt’s friends and family members, as well as Heller, spoke to Judge Jeffrey L. Finley, who presided.

Heller kept his head down, looking at the table, while Kutt’s loved ones spoke.

Ronald Kutt said his son missed out on prom and a normal high school graduation because of the COVID-19 pandemic — now he would never be able to get married and have a family of his own. Ronald Kutt, a hunter himself, said because of Heller’s “irresponsible and cowardly actions” he would never see his only son again.

Dana Kutt said she no longer sleeps through the night and is in counseling.

Her son was a bright light that filled the room, she said.

“I just want to hold him again,” Dana Kutt said.

Brianna Hill, Kutt’s older sister, tearfully said her brother’s death meant her best friend would not be present at many of her own milestones, such as her wedding.

Kristin Richardson, the mother of Kutt’s girlfriend, said Kutt was loved by their family. Heller was taken into custody Dec. 31, but in the two months before then, Richardson said her daughter feared that her boyfriend’s killer might try to harm her, too.

Richardson described her daughter as a straight-A student with a bright future before the incident. She said her daughter now has post-traumatic stress disorder and struggled to pass her senior year. She added her daughter has also lost weight, has trouble sleeping and experiences traumatic flashbacks.

When Heller spoke, he said he didn’t hear Kutt’s girlfriend’s panicked screams for help and thought she might be a pedestrian angry he was hunting in the park, a situation he had previously encountered.

When he saw ambulances as he drove away, he said, he thought there may have been a car accident. After some more contemplation, he thought he may have killed someone’s small dog.

A day or two later, Heller began looking around the internet to see if anything occurred at the park. He found a post about a shooting at the park and realized he had shot someone.

Heller said when he saw local news reports and a news conference, he knew he would have to turn himself in. But as the sole source of income for his girlfriend and her daughter he worried about them financially and feared he would never see them again, he said. He ended up procrastinating instead of turning himself in — days turned into weeks and then months.

“What was one more day?” Heller said.

Heller said he did the wrong thing by waiting to turn himself in. He said his remorse had driven him to think about taking his own life.

“I’d rather it was me that died that day than Jason,” Heller said.

Finley said he believed Heller had genuine remorse but there were inconsistencies in his account. During the hearing, Heller said he’d been hunting for roughly 40 years, had hunted at Nockamixon State Park on many occasions and kept up with hunting rules and regulations.

Finley said he wasn’t a hunter but knew the first rule any responsible hunter follows before taking a shot is identifying what they are aiming at and being certain they know what their target is.

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Finley said he understood Heller’s fear in turning himself in, but said Heller behaved selfishly.

Heller could be freed in a little more than six years if he participates in the a recidivism risk reduction program, which allows offenders to reduce their sentences through good behavior and completion of certain programs.

He was also fined $10,000, to be paid to Kutt’s family.

Statements Heller’s girlfriend made to police after the shooting and anonymous tips identified Heller as the primary suspect responsible for killing Kutt. Heller’s phone records obtained through search warrants showed he was in the area of Nockamixon State Park at the time of the shooting, which was later confirmed by Heller himself.

Kenneth Troy Heller will serve 7-20 years in state prison for accidentally shooting 18-year-old Jason Kutt.
Kenneth Troy Heller will serve 7-20 years in state prison for accidentally shooting 18-year-old Jason Kutt. (Handout / Bucks County district attorney’s office)

During a search of Heller’s Warminster Township home, detectives found an orange hunting vest and a .17-caliber rifle and ammunition fitting the description of the weapon used in Kutt’s homicide, court records show.

Heller surrendered to authorities Dec. 30. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, possession of an instrument of killing, weapon possession, failure to render assistance after a hunting incident and reckless endangerment.

Hunter electrocuted

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/electrocuted/article35176583.ece

E. Vallikumar, 28, of Kallidaikurichi near Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district got electrocuted when he touched live electric fence around a farm near Alangulam on Monday night. He went for hunting wild animals with his friends. When they crossed a farm near Kuruvankottai – Thuththikulam Road, he came in contact with a live electric fence and died on the way to the hospital.

UPDATE: Defendant in fatal hunting incident that killed boy testifies

https://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/2021/07/01/mother-slain-11-year-old-boy-speaks-john-varndell-jr-s-trial/7824502002/

Laura FitzgeraldPort Huron Times HeraldView Comments

Family members of Zachary Rock comfort each other as Heather Rohn, Zachary's mother, testifies during John Varndell Jr.'s trial Thursday, July 1, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse in Port Huron.

Taking the stand in his own defense in his trial Thursday, John Varndell Jr. said he was “100%” sure he was shooting at a deer when he shot and killed his 11-year-old stepson in a hunting incident. 

Varndell said he went into the woods with Zachary Rock, his stepson, and five other relatives on the evening of Sept. 13. They were on a relative’s property in the 6300 block of Benoit Road in Clay Township to search for a deer he had shot earlier in the day.

John Varndell Jr. gets emotional while testifying during his trial Thursday, July 1, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse In Port Huron. Varndell is facing charges related to allegedly killing his 11-year-old stepson.

Varndell said he had split off with three other relatives to search for a deer blind, while Zachary went with another child and an adult relative toward the house.

Varndell went off by himself because he said he thought he saw a deer. He shot eight times from a handgun.

“Do you agree with me as a hunter since you were 10 years old, that you should never shoot until you’re 100% sure of your target?” St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Sparling asked. 

“I felt that was 100% true because (the children) were supposed to be at the house, they were not supposed to be where they were at,” Varndell said. 

Zachary was shot in the head and died in the early morning hours of Sept. 14. Varndell learned about his stepson’s death three days later at the St. Clair County jail.

“My world stopped,” Varndell said when he learned his stepson had died. 

“Why?” asked Varndell’s attorney, Michael Boucher. 

“I lost my boy,” Varndell said, getting emotional. 

John Varndell Jr. gets emotional while testifying during his trial Thursday, July 1, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse In Port Huron. Varndell is facing charges related to allegedly killing his 11-year-old stepson.

Varndell had to stop several times to compose himself on the stand. He cried and choked back sobs throughout his testimony.

Police responded to the Benoit Road address at about 8 p.m. Sept. 13 for a report of a hunting incident. First responders found Zachary being attended to by his family and immediately started CPR, police have said.  

Varndell is charged with involuntary manslaughter, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, two felony firearms second offense charges and a habitual fourth violent offender. 

Varndell said he smoked marijuana in the morning and early afternoon in between hunts. Contrary to previous witness testimony, Varndell said he did not smoke a marijuana roach that he dropped while attempting to hand to a relative shortly before the shooting. 

Charles Simpson, a neuropsychopharmacologist called by Boucher, said a certain THC level, the active ingredient of marijuana, does not indicate a specific level of impairment. A sample of Varndell’s blood taken shortly after the shooting was found to have THC.Your stories live here.Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.Create Account

Prior to going out to search for the injured deer, Varndell said he did not hear discussions about there only being one gun in the search party, which was carried by an adult. Varndell said he didn’t think it was necessary to tell the others he had a handgun. 

When cross-examined by Sparling, Varndell said neither he nor Zachary possessed a hunting license, as required by law. Zachary also did not take a hunter’s safety course prior to the hunt, as required by law to get a youth hunting license. Varndell said during a hunt earlier in the day, Zachary was in a separate tree blind and not within arm’s reach of a supervising adult, as required by the regulations of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources youth hunt. 

Varndell said he shot the deer in the afternoon, contrary to the regulations of the youth hunt. He said he didn’t think Zachary would shoot the deer and he wanted to hunt and make memories with his stepson. 

When questioned by Sparling, Varndell agreed he was responsible for Zachary. 

“Do you agree it was a really bad choice just to fire one time with that gun in those situations?” Sparling asked. 

“I made a lot of bad decisions,” Varndell said. “This one was the biggest one of my life.”

Witness testimony concluded shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. 

Zachary’s mother testifies

Heather Rohn, Zachary’s mother, said she couldn’t understand how the hunting incident happened. 

“I know it was an accident, but it wasn’t like a car accident, it was 100% preventable,” Rohn said. “All you had to do was not pull the trigger.”

Before beginning her testimony regarding the night of the shooting, Rohn paused to compose herself. Family members sitting in the audience held each other and cried, clutching tissues. 

Rohn said she was returning to her father’s house on the night of the shooting when she heard screaming. A relative said Zachary had been shot. 

“I hit my knees at first,” she said. “It was like someone had punched me in the chest.”

She said Varndell, whom she was married to at the time and was Zachary’s stepfather, hugged her and said he was sorry and it was an accident. She pushed him away. 

“I told him that he was a dumb, stupid…and that he didn’t see anything,” Rohn told Varndell after the shooting. “He just heard something in the woods and had tunnel vision so he opened fire and he took my son’s life. (Varndell) said, ‘Yes I know, unfortunately, Zach had to pay the ultimate price’.”

Rohn said she helped perform CPR on her son until first responders arrived and took him away for medical treatment.

Rohn was in the room when doctors took Zachary off life support at Children’s Hospital in Detroit. 

“His heart stopped beating. His time of death was called at 2:35 a.m. on September 14, 2020,” she said before letting out a sob. 

St. Clair County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Sparling listens to directions during John Varndell Jr.'s trial Thursday, July 1, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse in Port Huron.

Rohn said she brought the handgun Varndell used in the shooting to the family gathering at her father’s house earlier that weekend. She said she put it in a pole barn so the children wouldn’t get to it.

Trial starts for man accused of killing stepson in hunting incident

https://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/2021/06/29/jury-selection-begins-john-varndells-trial/7793520002/

Laura FitzgeraldBrian WellsPort Huron Times HeraldView Comments0:070:58https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.469.0_en.html#goog_2136286569

The prosecution and defense presented opposing views in the first day of a jury trial for a man charged with his killing his 11-year-old stepson during a hunting incident in Clay Township. 

St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Sparling said John Varndell Jr. was with his stepson, Zachary Rock, on Sept. 13 in Clay Township for a youth hunt organized by the Department of Natural Resources. 

Safety precautions weren’t taken for the hunt, including the wearing of hunter’s orange. Varndell decided to go off on his own, not knowing where the rest of the group was.

In the dark, where the group could only see using flashlights and cell phones, Varndell fired eight shots, Sparling said.

St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Sparling makes his opening statement in the trial for John Varndell Jr. Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Port Huron.

“You’re going to hear about eight shots that went ringing out through those woods,” Sparling said. “How one of those shots went right through Zachary’s head.”

Varndell also wasn’t supposed to have the gun due to his criminal past, Sparling said.

“It’s those actions in the woods, those actions that were taken, it’s the reason you’re here,” Sparling said.

Varndell’s attorney, Michael Boucher, described the incident as a tragic accident, not a crime. 

Lawyer Michael Boucher

“This might have been one of the greatest days of Zachary Rock’s life. He was on vacation, he was visiting family. He went out playing twice that day with a stepfather. He was with people that he loved, doing something that presumably he liked to do. And it turned into an unspeakable tragedy,” Boucher said. “But it’s an accident, that’s what it is. It’s not a crime.”

Police responded to the 6300 block of Benoit Road at 8 p.m. for a report of a hunting accident. First responders found Zachary being attended by his family and immediately started medical treatment, police have said. 

Zachary was transported to McLaren Macomb hospital where he died.

Varndell is charged with involuntary manslaughter, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, two felony firearms second offense charges and a habitual fourth violent offender. 

Witnesses describe the night of the shooting

Witnesses said Varndell, Zachary and five other relatives were at a relative’s home at the Benoit address to hunt and work on the home. 

The witnesses said they smoked marijuana with Varndell or witnessed him smoke several times on the day of the shooting. 

Ronald Rohn Jr. testifies in the trial for John Varndell Jr. Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse in Port Huron.

Around dusk, Varndell and Zachary came back from a hunt and said they wounded a deer. Varndell, Zachary and five other relatives went out in a group to search for the wounded deer, witnesses said. 

Witnesses said it was agreed that Scott Washburn Jr., who testified during trial, would carry the only gun in the party, a 20-gauge shotgun, for safety reasons and because he was with the children. 

The group of seven went out to look for the deer, eventually splitting up to look for the deer. Varndell and Zachary went in separate groups. It had grown so dark the group had to use flashlights to search for the blood trail on the ground, witnesses said. 

Family members of Zachary Rock hold hands as the trial for John Varndell Jr. gets underway Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse in Port Huron.

Witnesses said Varndell went a little ahead of the others. They said they heard Varndell yell out that he saw the deer and they heard shots ring out from the area where he was standing.

Family members of Zachary Rock get emotional as the trial for John Varndell Jr. gets underway Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in the St. Clair County Courthouse in Port Huron.

Washburn said he heard shots ring out and saw Zachary fall to the ground. The other boy they were with started yelling and the rest of the party ran to him. 

 Witnesses said they saw a gun in Varndell’s hand and he seemed to be in distress. 

Christian Washburn, whose testimony from a previous hearing was read because he could not be located, said he heard Varndell say, “I thought I shot a deer, but I shot Zach.”

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.