Pa. lawyer gets 10-25 years in hunting death
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - July 8, 2011 (WPVI) -- A judge has sentenced an attorney who shot and killed a fellow deer hunter with a high-powered rifle to 10-25 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, illegal firearms possession and other charges.
In handing down the sentence Friday, Bucks County Judge Arthur J. Cepparulo told David Manilla that he was lucky he wasn't charged with murder.
The judge gave him 10 to 25 years in state prison; near the maximum for manslaughter and weapons convictions.The 49-year-old Manilla changed his plea from no contest to guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the November death of 52-year-old Barry Groh. He also pleaded guilty to possessing the rifle and a shotgun, despite a weapons ban that followed a 1985 assault conviction.
Manilla used a hi-powered rifle that can kill from 4 miles away, which is illegal in Bucks County.It was illegal for Manilla to own any guns in the wake of a 1985 conviction for pistol whipping a man nearly to death and shooting a fellow hunter in 1993 with buckshot. Manilla, a well-to-do lawyer, continued to hunt in many states. Prosecutors had contended that Manilla acted recklessly when he fired the high-powered rifle while driving an all-terrain vehicle. They say the bullet struck Groh as he knelt by a stream after bagging a deer.
After the shooting, Manilla and his hunting party, which included his uncle, former Montgomery County District Attorney Mike Marino, waited 30 minutes before calling 911, and didn't fully tell the whole story for more than a week."None of my arguments were excuses for his conduct that day or any day, but there were explanations," said Keith J. Williams, Defense Attorney. Manilla apologized to Groh's family in court Friday. Manilla is headed off to state prison for a long time; 10 to 25 years, but his legal battles are far from over. A civil suit has been launched by the Groh family, and a federal probe is underway in his alleged effort to hide at least 90 firearms he was not supposed to own in the first place. "I am happy to see him get hauled off in handcuff," says Theresa Groh.
pennsylvania, bucks county, shooting, crime
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