Belmont man gets heavy sentence in hunting accident
By BEA LEWIS
Article Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A Belmont man who accidentally shot another turkey hunter and then
failed to render medical aid has begun serving a one-year jail sentence
in jail and was stripped of his right to hunt for life and ordered to
pay $30,000 to reimburse the victim for his medical costs.
Daniel L. Keniston, 46, of C11 Spruce Drive, Pine Garden Trailer
Park, was indicted on the Class B felony charge of abandoning a wounded
human being in August 2007.
Investigators said that Keniston shot Benjamin Gallagher with a
12-gauge shotgun in the woods off Meredith Center Road in Laconia in May
2007. Pellets from the blast struck Gallagher in the face, neck and
chest. Keniston pleaded guilty to failing to immediately report the
incident to police or conservation officers. Keniston was initially also
charged with shooting a human being while hunting, a misdemeanor, and
reckless conduct, a Class B felony.
The incident took place in Laconia on the opening day of the 2007
hunting season in the Huston-Morgan State Forest, located off Meredith
Center Road just east of Daisy Gardner Road.
Keniston mistook a decoy for a live turkey and shot Gallagher, a
15-year-old Inter-Lakes High School student who was hunting with his
At the time of the accident, New Hampshire Fish & Game authorities
said the brothers, both wearing camouflage, placed a turkey decoy on the
ground, took up a stationary position and began calling to lure turkeys
into shooting range.
Keniston was walking through the woods looking for turkeys — a
practice known as "stalking," that safety experts discourage — the
department said. The Belmont man is said to have fired in the direction
of the brothers and their decoy, hitting the teenager.
Judge Larry Smukler, sitting in Belknap County Superior Court,
sentenced Keniston on Monday to 12 months in the House of Corrections
commencing Tuesday. The court recommended to county correctional
authorities that Keniston be eligible for immediate work release
consistent with administrative regulations. The defendant was
additionally ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution for medical costs
plus 17 percent statutory administrative fee through the New Hampshire
Department of Corrections.
The defendant must also participate meaningfully and complete any
counseling, treatment or educational programs as recommended by
At the request of the defendant or the Department of Corrections, a
hearing may be scheduled on the amount or method of payment of
additional restitution. The defendant was additionally ordered to remain
on good behavior, comply with all terms of the sentence and to have no
contact with the victim or his family.
Public Defender Howard Clayman represented Keniston.