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Jury Convicts Muzzleloader Who Shot & Killed an Archery Hunter
Yesterday, Ronald J. Morosko was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Gregory Gabrisch during a fatal hunting incident. Mr. Morosko, while muzzleloader hunting on Sept. 17, 2021, fatally shot Gabrisch (an archery hunter). The incident occurred in the Lizard Head Wilderness Area of Dolores County, Colorado. The shooting occurred as both men hunted elk during overlapping muzzleloading and archery seasons. The men were hunting separately, and Morosko believed he was shooting at an elk when he hit and killed Gabrisch.
Morosko is currently free on bond until a sentencing hearing set for March 31. The sentence for criminally negligent homicide, a Class 5 felony, is one to three years in prison, or probation which can include up to 90 days in jail. Additionally, a fine of up to $100,000 may be imposed.
Chief Judge Todd Plewe presided over the case. During the trial, the prosecution argued “Morosko failed to perceive the substantial danger in the woods, that other hunters are in it, doing the same thing, trying to call in elk.” Morosko violated hunting rules because “he did not identify his target.”
Defense attorneys argued the incident was a “horrible tragedy” but did not meet the legal standard of negligence. They added the overlap of archery and muzzleloader seasons and the fact that blaze orange clothing was not required for bowhunters was “senseless” and probably contributed to the accident.
After the trial, the District Attorney said, “We are thankful for the service of the jury, we are pleased with the outcome, and the family is pleased with the outcome. It has been a very difficult case for every individual involved and we are so pleased the jury came to the decision that they did.”
Next, defense attorneys will work with the family on presenting a recommendation for the March 31 sentencing hearing.
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