An Ashtabula County man will have a lot of time in prison to mull over his accidental shooting of another hunter.
Darrell A. Shephard, age 43, was sentenced to a total of 12 years in state prison for causing the accidental death of 62-year-old Randy Gozzard – of Florida but formerly of Ashtabula County - while both were hunting separately in Monroe Township on the first day of Ohio’s seven-day general firearms deer-hunting season, November 27th, 2017.
As such, Gozzard became the first deer-hunting-related fatality in Ohio since 2014.
Shephard was sentenced January10th by Ashtabula County Common Pleas Marianne Sezon. The length of the sentence was determined by Shephard having a prior criminal history that prevented him from legally possessing a firearm. He was sentenced for manslaughter with a firearms specification,
Both Shephard and Gozzard were hunting the same Monroe Township piece of property though only Gozzard had permission to do so. Gozzard also was wearing the required blaze orange outer garment, said Ohio Division of Wildlife District Three (Northeast Ohio) Law Enforcement Supervisor Jarod Roof.
“Mr. Gozzard was legal in every way,” Roof said.
It is important to note that this not the same case, however, that is currently under investigation for a fatal, apparent, hunting accident that occurred November 25th, 2018 Ashtabula County. Such investigations, consulting with a county prosecutor, and sentencing can take many months, as indicated with the Shephard-Gozzard incident.