LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The man accused of shooting and killing his sister in law while hunting pled guilty to a felony Tuesday morning in Livingston County Court.
John Lander, 50, pled guilty to felony Criminally Negligent Homicide for causing the death of Sharon Lander. He stood firmly with his feet shoulder-width as he answered Judge Robert Wiggins’ routine questions in a low, barely audible voice. He then answered questions by Assistant District Attorney Josh Tonra about the events of Nov. 27, 2016.
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“It was a horrifying hunting accident,” said Lander. “I pulled the gun off my shoulder and it caught in my vest and went off. I didn’t point it at anyone.”
“And was the safety off?” asked Tonra.
“I don’t remember if the safety was off,” said Lander.
“How long have you been a hunter?” asked Tonra. “Should the safety have been on? Is that something that a person would normally do while hunting?”
“38 years,” said Lander. “There’s a good chance the safety was off. As soon as the gun went off I ran to her aid. […] I’ve known her since I was 13 years old. It was a horrifying accident.”
Wiggins accepted Lander’s guilty plea and adjourned the case for Livingston County Probation to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and recommend an appropriate sentence.
The plea offer negotiated by Tonra and Lander’s attorney, Chief Public Defender Marcea Clark Tetamore, was that Lander would serve 4 months of weekends at the County Jail with eligibility for work release.
He will return to Livingston County Court at a later date for sentencing.
Wiggins said that Lander will remain at liberty on $2,000 cash or $4,000 bond in the meantime.