Pennsylvania lawyer sentenced for shooting fellow hunter

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 08, 2011 6:08 PM
Pennsylvania lawyer sentenced for shooting fellow hunter

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania attorney who shot and killed a fellow hunter by mistake in 2010 while hunting for deer on his own property was sentenced up to 25 years in prison on Friday for involuntary manslaughter and gun violations.

Victim Barry Groh, 52, was shot and killed in November 2010 in suburban Bucks County shortly after he had called his wife to say he had bagged a deer.

David Manilla, 49, who was hunting separately on his own property nearby, pleaded guilty to the charges. Common Pleas Court Judge Albert Cepparulo sentenced him to the maximum two-and-a-half to five years for manslaughter plus seven-and-a-half to 20 years on the gun violations.

Because Manilla had been convicted of aggravated assault in 1985, he was not allowed to have any firearms under state law, prosecutor Robert James said. A search of Manilla's house yielded some 90 weapons and a bag of ammunition, he said.

The prosecutor said Manilla failed to call promptly for emergency help and tried to hide the rifle that killed Groh. Manilla also fired a shotgun he was carrying in order to claim it was inconsistent with the fatal rifle wound, James said.

"Justice was served," James said of the sentence.

Defense attorney Keith Williams said he would seek to have Manilla serve time in a western Pennsylvania prison with a medical facility because Manilla has had three heart attacks and has six arterial stent implants.

Manilla, of Worcester, Pennsylvania, specialized in drunk driving cases when he practiced law.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)