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MN Hunter Who Knocked Man Out of Treestand Found Guilty of Manslaughter

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March 12, 2012

MN Hunter Who Knocked Man Out of Treestand Found Guilty of Manslaughter

By Chad Love

A Minnesota man has been found guilty of manslaughter for knocking a hunter out of his treestand during a dispute over a property boundary.

From this story on dl-online.com:

A Breezy Point, Minn., man was convicted Friday of second-degree manslaughter in the death of a man he knocked from a tree stand during a hunting dispute in Clearwater County in 2010. Kevin Thomas McCormick, 53, was found guilty in state district court in Bagley, Minn., after a five-day trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 11 on the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. According to court documents, McCormick argued with Jerry Benedict, 64, over the placement of Benedict’s tree stand, which McCormick believed was on his land in southern Clearwater County, near Itasca State Park and the White Earth Indian Reservation.

On Nov. 6, 2010, McCormick knocked Benedict from the stand, which was set up 12 feet above ground. Benedict was airlifted to a Fargo hospital the next day, suffering from broken vertebrae and abdominal bleeding. McCormick was charged with assault in the case. When Benedict died of his internal injuries Nov. 24, McCormick was charged with manslaughter.

Thoughts?

Comments (14)

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from peppeli wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Can we not be civil? I understand he didn't want anyone hunting on his land, but causing physical harm and death over deer hunting?! Call the DNR, I am sure they would have been willing to be a mediator in the conversation.

Bad press for hunters, supports societies belief that we are cold blooded killers.

Question: Was he wearing a safety harness? And how did he knock him out of the tree? Did he climb up or shake the tree?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Good questions. I was wondering the same.
And I agree, call the DNR. And as soon as possible, get your land surveyed so the dispute can be settled!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Intentionally killing a man and only getting a maximum of 10 years just isn't right.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Property line disputes are much more common than most people think. Some go back generations. Survey pin locations are meaningless to some folks whose grandfather erected a fence or farmed a piece of land for over 50 years. Then when the lawyers get involved with various easements, adverse possession, and necessity right-a-ways, it makes it much more complicated than it needs to be.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from slothman wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Jay he didn't intentionally kill him... That's why it's called manslaughter not murder... And I would probably knock someone I caught poaching on my land out of his stand too! Just sad the man died.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Captjim wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

This sad incident probably wasn't even really about a property dispute. The 53 year old man was probably at the end of his rope from life, government, local laws, and maybe a woman or two, beating him down at every turn for the last 30 years and vented his frustrations on the stand dispute. I see it happening all the time and as our lives get more miserable and difficult it will be happening more. This phenomena happens all the time with road rage.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

That is where you call the DNR Officer and let him handle this. Then you go to civil court and determine where the boundary is and if the man was tresspassing then the officer can cite the man for tresspassing. In WV the landowner can arrest a tresspasser himself but I strongly discouraged it to every landowner I came into contact with because they are not trained to do so to start with and second most don't have liability insurance to cover such confrontations. I told them to leave it up to us the people who were trained to do such things. In other words, go to the phone or use cell phone and make the call.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Slothman, your reasoning is foolish. He didn't intend to kill him? He DID intend to hurt him, and when you do that you can't be surprised when it turns very bad. A landowner dispute is not poaching and he didn't catch this guy in his kid's bedroom, his den, root cellar or barn. A man is dead and he's the reason. Apart from killing a man and causing untold pain to the dead man's family, this McCormick has ruined his own family because he wanted to be a tough guy. He's about to meet some real tough guys. I must disagree with Captjim too, McCormick is nobodys victim, he was spoiling for a fight and now he must pay, though it can never be enough. If Mr. Benedict arrested for tresspassing then he would have got what he deserved. He didn't deserve that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Well, he only fell twelve feet. He must have hit something on the ground. I think the "killer" probably figured the guy could stand up to a mere twelve foot drop. Anytime you figure on resorting to violence, expect the worst can happen. I estimate he will get a very stiff fine and time served. It wouldn't be any consolation for the family of decased if the jerk recieved a life sentence. An unfortunate incident that went tragically and unexpectedly sour.

All this hog-hunting is really getting disgusting. I'd rather throw my guns in the dump than have to be stuck hunting my own little selfish little preserve.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wischneider wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

You should not be hunting on other people's land without their permission. That is a fact.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Why didn't he just take down the stand? Yanking the stands off the tree and destroying them, then putting my phone number on the tree they were on seems to work pretty well for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

The lesson learned here is hunt reasonable distances from property lines and if you're the property owner don't take matters into your own hands get law enforcement directly envolved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bounty1 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

For one, it say's McCormick "believed" the stand was on his land.... Was it or not? Not that that makes it right, just wondering. 53 year old McCormick should really be proud of himself for tossing 64 year old Benedict out of a stand. You candy A$$. Bet McCormick was drunk too. You don't do something so stupid unless you're fried.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Frontier justice went out years ago, let the law take care of things that is what we pay them for.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Property line disputes are much more common than most people think. Some go back generations. Survey pin locations are meaningless to some folks whose grandfather erected a fence or farmed a piece of land for over 50 years. Then when the lawyers get involved with various easements, adverse possession, and necessity right-a-ways, it makes it much more complicated than it needs to be.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from peppeli wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Can we not be civil? I understand he didn't want anyone hunting on his land, but causing physical harm and death over deer hunting?! Call the DNR, I am sure they would have been willing to be a mediator in the conversation.

Bad press for hunters, supports societies belief that we are cold blooded killers.

Question: Was he wearing a safety harness? And how did he knock him out of the tree? Did he climb up or shake the tree?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

That is where you call the DNR Officer and let him handle this. Then you go to civil court and determine where the boundary is and if the man was tresspassing then the officer can cite the man for tresspassing. In WV the landowner can arrest a tresspasser himself but I strongly discouraged it to every landowner I came into contact with because they are not trained to do so to start with and second most don't have liability insurance to cover such confrontations. I told them to leave it up to us the people who were trained to do such things. In other words, go to the phone or use cell phone and make the call.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Slothman, your reasoning is foolish. He didn't intend to kill him? He DID intend to hurt him, and when you do that you can't be surprised when it turns very bad. A landowner dispute is not poaching and he didn't catch this guy in his kid's bedroom, his den, root cellar or barn. A man is dead and he's the reason. Apart from killing a man and causing untold pain to the dead man's family, this McCormick has ruined his own family because he wanted to be a tough guy. He's about to meet some real tough guys. I must disagree with Captjim too, McCormick is nobodys victim, he was spoiling for a fight and now he must pay, though it can never be enough. If Mr. Benedict arrested for tresspassing then he would have got what he deserved. He didn't deserve that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Intentionally killing a man and only getting a maximum of 10 years just isn't right.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Good questions. I was wondering the same.
And I agree, call the DNR. And as soon as possible, get your land surveyed so the dispute can be settled!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Well, he only fell twelve feet. He must have hit something on the ground. I think the "killer" probably figured the guy could stand up to a mere twelve foot drop. Anytime you figure on resorting to violence, expect the worst can happen. I estimate he will get a very stiff fine and time served. It wouldn't be any consolation for the family of decased if the jerk recieved a life sentence. An unfortunate incident that went tragically and unexpectedly sour.

All this hog-hunting is really getting disgusting. I'd rather throw my guns in the dump than have to be stuck hunting my own little selfish little preserve.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Frontier justice went out years ago, let the law take care of things that is what we pay them for.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Captjim wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

This sad incident probably wasn't even really about a property dispute. The 53 year old man was probably at the end of his rope from life, government, local laws, and maybe a woman or two, beating him down at every turn for the last 30 years and vented his frustrations on the stand dispute. I see it happening all the time and as our lives get more miserable and difficult it will be happening more. This phenomena happens all the time with road rage.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Why didn't he just take down the stand? Yanking the stands off the tree and destroying them, then putting my phone number on the tree they were on seems to work pretty well for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

The lesson learned here is hunt reasonable distances from property lines and if you're the property owner don't take matters into your own hands get law enforcement directly envolved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wischneider wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

You should not be hunting on other people's land without their permission. That is a fact.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bounty1 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

For one, it say's McCormick "believed" the stand was on his land.... Was it or not? Not that that makes it right, just wondering. 53 year old McCormick should really be proud of himself for tossing 64 year old Benedict out of a stand. You candy A$$. Bet McCormick was drunk too. You don't do something so stupid unless you're fried.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from slothman wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Jay he didn't intentionally kill him... That's why it's called manslaughter not murder... And I would probably knock someone I caught poaching on my land out of his stand too! Just sad the man died.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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