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April 26. 2012 11:55AM

Lisbon hunter indicted for shooting, killing Mass. man


Kenneth Brunelle with his former fiancee, Tiffanie Parks, and their children, Lucas (middle) and Kaleb, early in 2011. Brunelle, 31, was shot and killed in Lisbon last November on the opening day of New Hampshire's deer rifle season. (COURTESY)

HAVERHILL – A Grafton County Superior Court grand jury has indicted a 48-year-old Lisbon man on negligent homicide and reckless-conduct charges in last November's shooting death of a Massachusetts man on the opening day of New Hampshire's deer rifle season.

Authorities at the time said Wade S. Holmes of Mt. Eustis Road told them he mistook Kenneth L. Brunelle, 31, of Marlborough, Mass., for a deer. Brunelle was in the woods not far from Holmes' residence when he was felled by a single shot to the neck.

New Hampshire Fish & Game investigators said Brunelle was not hunting and was not armed when he was killed Nov. 9, 2011, but he was with his father and brother who were hunting early on the morning of opening day.

Fish & Game Lt. Douglas Gralenski, who was in charge of the initial investigation, said five months ago that Holmes used a “high-powered, bolt-action rifle” to fire the fatal shot.

The indictments, handed up last Friday and made public Thursday, identified the weapon as a 30.06 Winchester.

The negligent homicide indictment alleges that Homes caused Brunelle's death by “failing to identify with certainty a target at which he was shooting.”

The reckless-conduct indictment alleges that Holmes did “engage in conduct which places or may place another in danger of serious bodily injury,” also by failing to be certain of his target.

Gralenski said at the time that New Hampshire officials had decided to stop referring to such shootings as “accidents,” in order to emphasize the serious responsibility hunters have to make sure of their target before they fire.

The charges are Class B felonies, each punishable by 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison, if Holmes is convicted. Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo said Thursday she could not comment on the charges, and said police reports of the shooting would not be made available until after the case is resolved.


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