The wife of a Bentley man killed in a hunting accident forgave the Lacombe man who pulled the trigger as a judge handed down his sentence almost five years after the incident.
Phillip Moore was shot dead on Nov. 29, 2009.
His widow Jane Moore read her victim impact statement in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday.
She concluded it by turning to face Herbert Stanley Meister, 60, and saying, “I forgive you.”
Meister pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of a rifle and careless use of a firearm. A charge of criminal negligence causing death was withdrawn by the Crown.
He was sentenced to 60 days in jail by Judge John Holmes, to be served intermittently on weekends, and to a conditional sentence lasting two years less a day. The conditional sentence is staggered into three portions with Meister spending the first eight months under house arrest, the second eight months with a curfew and the final eight months with no curfew.
He also received a lifetime weapons prohibition and an order to supply a sample of his DNA.
Meister was out hunting with Phillip Moore and a few other men on Nov. 29, 2009. At the time, Meister was not licensed to carry or use a firearm.
Moore went to “push bush,” a hunting technique meant to drive deer out of a wooded area and into an open area to hunt, while Meister waited for deer to come out.
Meister fired one shot at what he thought was a deer. He thought he had missed and fired a second shot. That second shot hit Moore.
Meister, realizing what he had done, yelled out. He drove to a fellow hunter to tell him he’d shot Moore. The two then drove to Moore and called for emergency services help.
Meister performed CPR on Moore as his friend drove to a nearby farm to tell emergency services workers where Moore was.
Moore was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy indicated the death was accidental and Moore had died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Jane Moore, reading her victim impact statement, said Meister’s decision to pull the trigger silenced Phillip forever.
“He will never even get to meet some of his grandchildren,” she said, referring to one grandchild born five weeks before the incident and another who is too young to remember Phillip Moore.
When reading his decision on the sentence, Holmes said the facts of the case can only be characterized as tragic, citing “gross stupidity” on the part of Meister.
However, the judge said he believed Meister accepted responsibility for his actions and was genuinely remorseful for what happened.