A turkey hunter from Leeds will serve no jail time but must speak about hunter safety, forfeit his shotgun and pay nearly $11,000 after a shooting last fall that injured a woman’s face and neck.
Timothy H. Jacobs, 62, was indicted by the Androscoggin County grand jury in January on one count each of aggravated assault with a firearm and reckless conduct with a firearm, both felonies, and a misdemeanor charge of assault while hunting.
In a plea agreement, Jacobs on Thursday pleaded guilty to reckless conduct with a firearm, a Class C crime, and to the Class D assault charge. The agreement calls for a deferred disposition for one year. If Jacobs, abides by the conditions, those charges will be dismissed and he will plead guilty to reckless conduct and pay a $750 fine, according to Jacobs’ attorney, James Howaniec of Lewiston.
The plea deal also calls for Jacobs’ hunting license to be suspended for 10 years. The aggravated assault charge was dismissed Thursday.
The 42-year-old victim, who advocated for Jacobs to address hunter safety classes rather than serve jail time, supported the resolution in the case, Assistant District Attorney Neil McLean said after the hearing.
Jacobs failed to identify his target as the law requires, according to McLean.
“Mr. Jacobs thought he saw movement and flashes of red from a Tom turkey and discharged his 12-gauge shotgun,” the prosecutor said. “This was a serious crime but it was not his intent to harm [the victim].”
McLean and Howaniec said that Jacobs has shown remorse and wants to talk with hunters about his experience so that they correctly identify their targets.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said authorities received a 911 call from Jacobs on Sept. 27, 2021. He was hunting near the end of Walton’s Way in Leeds.
Jacobs provided aid to the injured woman until emergency personnel arrived, DIF&W officials said. She was transported to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and was reported in stable condition.
Jacobs did not properly identify his target that day before firing and seven pellets struck the woman in the face and neck, McLean said. She had to have several of them surgically removed earlier this year as they began moving under the skin.
If convicted of the most serious charge of Class B aggravated assault, Jacobs faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the Class C reckless conduct charge.
He faced up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 on the Class D charge of assault while hunting and the charge he is expected to plead guilty to in one year. If Jacobs is unsuccessful on the deferred disposition, he could be sentenced to jail time.
The hunting-related shooting was the first in Maine since the October 2017 killing in Hebron of Karen Wrentzel by deer hunter Robert Trundy. He fatally shot the 34-year-old Wrentzel as she was digging for rocks on her property.
Trundy, of Hebron, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2019 and was sentenced to seven years in prison with all but nine months suspended to be followed by four years of probation. Trundy’s probation is scheduled to end on Jan. 31, 2024, according to the Maine Department of Corrections.