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--username-deleted--
09-09-2005, 06:03 PM
I will not call this a hunting accident. It's criminal negligence, pure and simple (for beginners).

My heart goes out to that poor guy and his family.

Leighton

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Police: Dying man begged for help after being shot
Bail is set at $25,000 for accused shooter
September 7, 2005

By DANIEL BARLOW Southern Vermont Bureau

BRATTLEBORO A Jacksonville man who was shot after being mistaken for a bear asked his alleged killer to call police and get him medical attention, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Douglas Bartlett, 50, was shot early Saturday evening while he was picking berries in the woods of Whitingham. Prosecutors say his killer, who fled the scene after the shooting, is Brian D. Gilbert.

"He left the scene after the killing and after talking with the victim," said Windham County Deputy State's Attorney David Gartenstein in Brattleboro District Court Tuesday. "He did not seek help."

Gilbert, 26, of Charlemont, Mass., pleaded innocent to a felony charge of second-degree murder and was held on $25,000 cash bail following the arraignment. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Police said Gilbert thought Bartlett was a bear when he shot him once in the shoulder with a .30-30 Marlin lever-action rifle off of Lone Pine Road. The bullet traveled through Bartlett's chest cavity and punctured both lungs, according to an autopsy conducted over the weekend.

Gilbert briefly spoke with Bartlett, before the victim "exhaled and fell backwards from his knees" and died, according to court documents.

"The defendant did speak with (Bartlett) very briefly after the shooting," said State Police Detective Sgt. William Jenkins on Tuesday. "(Bartlett) asked him for help, he asked him to call 911."

Gilbert, who has been held at the Springfield prison since his arrest Sunday, walked into the courtroom Tuesday with his legs and arms shackled. He wore a gray T-shirt and pants and appeared not to have shaved in several days.

He hung his head low throughout the court proceedings, looking up only when the judge was speaking. He conferred briefly with his public defender, but did not address the court.

Several members of Bartlett's family declined to comment following the arraignment. Bartlett, an active member of local school boards who ran a family construction business, grew up in Whitingham and graduated from Whitingham High School. He had three daughters.

According to court documents, Gilbert spent Saturday hunting in the Whitingham woods with his younger brother. Sometime between 5 and 6 p.m., the two saw what appeared to be an animal in some bushes; Gilbert allegedly aimed through his scope and fired, police said.

Gilbert later told police that before he fired, he heard what sounded like a bear and thought he saw the animal's head lift up in the vegetation and sniff the wind, according to court documents.

"He advised that he heard a moan, and was initially excited because he thought he shot a bear," Jenkins wrote in his affidavit. "He advised that he started running toward the direction he shot and heard a person asking for help."

The brothers panicked, ran back to their truck and drove home, according to court documents.

Gilbert and his brother returned to the scene around 10 p.m. to see if the body was discovered yet and fled again when they saw state troopers there, court documents state. An uncle alerted Massachusetts police Sunday that one of his nephews had shot someone while hunting in Vermont.

Bartlett's father reported him missing around 9:30 Saturday night. The body was discovered shortly after 11 p.m. in some bushes near his car, police said.

Police found a Winchester .30-30 casing believed to be from Gilbert's weapon about 21 yards from where Bartlett's body was discovered, according to court documents.

Gartenstein said Tuesday that Gilbert was 60 to 70 feet away from Bartlett, in daylight, when he fired. The deputy state's attorney said that distance was the same length of the courtroom in Brattleboro from one diagonal corner to the other.

Citing no ties to Vermont and the possibility of life in prison as a possible reason to flee, Gartenstein asked that Gilbert be held on $100,000 cash bail.

His court-appointed public defender, Mimi Brill, said the Massachusetts towns that Gilbert lives and works in are close to the Vermont border. He also has a 6-year-old daughter and another child on the way, she said.

Gilbert lives with his mother and several siblings and works as a carpenter, Brill said. Two uncles are former law enforcement officials, she added, including one who is a retired Vermont State Police trooper.

"The family is still struggling to get the $10,000 bail together from when he was arrested," she said. "This is not a family of great means. These are working people."

Judge Kathleen Hayes set bail at $25,000 cash. She pointed out that Gilbert's home is close to the state line and he did cooperate with police after his arrest.

Jenkins, the State Police detective, said he is still investigating the shooting. He would not say what aspects of the case are being reviewed or if further charges are being considered.

"We need to cover all our bases, but I can't really comment on the specifics of that," he said.

Contact Daniel Barlow at daniel.barlow@rutlandherald.com.

Albiemanmike
09-09-2005, 06:31 PM
Another senseless hunting "accident". It never ceases to amaze me that a person can level their gun on something they cannot positively identify. This is a clear case of negligence and at the distance he was from the poor guy who died makes you wonder if he did it on purpose. That isn't very far and he had a scope??? There has got to be more to this story than we are hearing just doesn't add up. My prayers are with that poor gentleman who lost his life while just enjoying the outdoors, and the guy who shot him will have to live with this for the rest of his life as well. Just not a good situation and nobody can come out of this in a positive way. Heartbreaking to say the least!