For shooting a pregnant woman as she sat in a car at her house after
returning from a baby shower, Craig T. Wetzell of Lehigh County was
sentenced Wednesday to six months of probation and fined $2,700.
Oh, yes. Mr. Wetzell, who was not charged with serious crimes because he
was in the act of hunting when he fired into a residential neighborhood,
will be denied a hunting license for between five and 10 years. That'll show
Lehigh County prosecutors chose to charge Mr. Wetzel with hunting
violations rather than serious crimes, claiming that he was careless but
that his conduct did not rise to the level of a crime.
Meanwhile, Casey Burns, 18, the shooting victim, is left to deal with a
$137,000 hospital bill while raising a healthy girl who was born last month.
Mr. Wetzell did not respond to Ms. Burns' request for an apology after he
received his slap on the wrist Wednesday. That's his right, but the state
Legislature should not be so silent about this aberration of justice.
Lawmakers should see that firing a rifle toward a neighborhood, even while
engaged in the apparently sacred act of hunting, is a criminal offense
carrying serious penalties. Hunters should be accountable for wildly errant
shots. As it now stands, Ms. Burns has to pay the penalty for being in the
way of Mr. Wetzell's state-sanctioned bullet.
İScranton Times Tribune 2005
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