Brian Knight says he didn’t mean to shoot ATV thief

A Tees area farmer didn’t intend to shoot a fleeing thief who had just stolen an ATV from his property, Red Deer court heard Friday.

A Tees area farmer didn’t intend to shoot a fleeing thief who had just stolen an ATV from his property, Red Deer court heard Friday.

Brian Russell Knight, 39, pleaded guilty in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench to criminal negligence causing bodily harm for shooting Harold Groening who stole the ATV on March 26, 2009.

Crown prosecutor Jason Snider withdrew several firearms-related charges.

Knight will be sentenced May 26 following a pre-sentence report.

According to agreed facts, worked out by Snider and defence lawyer Balfour Der of Clagary, Knight shot Groening early in the morning as Groening was attempting to flee through a field after abandoning the attempted theft.

Justice Monica Bast heard Groening and two other men scouted out the ATV earlier in the day and returned early in the morning after drinking and consuming drugs.

They attempted to load the ATV into a pickup but were too noisy and woke up Knight.

Groening’s accomplices fled in the truck leaving Groening to drive the ATV down the road with Knight in pursuit in a vehicle.

Knight bumped into Groening sending the thief flying into the ditch where the ATV ended up.

Knight then grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun from his vehicle and fired high over the fleeing Groening with light birdshot, Snider said.

However, several pellets hit Groening who fell but got up again running through a field when Knight fired again hitting Groening in the back and backside areas.

Knight summoned a nearby relative and other neighbours who took up the chase.

A farmer caught Groening and he was held until RCMP arrived.

Groening was briefly hospitalized and treated for numerous wounds.

Groening 31, formerly of Mirror, now living in B.C., was sentenced to 30 days in jail for theft under $5,000 earlier this year in Stettler provincial court.

Kyle Rosenthal, 25, formerly of Alix pleaded to theft under $5,000, in the incident and was jailed for 15 days in jail.

Nick Dewald, 23, of Alix, received a $400 fine for the same charge.