DA files charges in Grand County shooting death
The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has charged one man with homicide for the Nov. 9 shooting of a hunter in Grand County.
Harry Watkins, 52, is facing a charge of criminally negligent homicide after he allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old Simon Howell of West Virginia outside Kremmling.
Watkins and Howell were part of the same hunting party. They were in a remote area between Kremmling and Radium in Game Management Unit 27 when Howell was shot, according to the DA’s office.
“The rules of hunting safety exist to keep this exact kind of tragedy from happening,” District Attorney Matt Karzen said in a news release announcing Watkins had been charged. “Complacency and lack of discipline is all it takes for someone to be killed.”
The Grand County Coroner’s Office determined Howell died from a gunshot wound. Officials with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation previously said that Watkins was cooperating with the investigation.
The district attorney’s office didn’t release any other details about the shooting.
Criminally negligent homicide is a class 5 felony that can result in up to three years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
Randy Hampton, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, explained hunting deaths are rare, with an average of one per year in the state.
The last fatal hunting incident in the state also happened in Grand County. In November 2018, Ernest Ackerly, 43, of Centennial died after being shot while the party was preparing to head into the nearby forest off County Road 41 to hunt.
Investigators determined the rifle had discharged while being loaded. No one was charged in that incident.
Watkins is scheduled for an advisement on Dec. 22 in Grand County Court.
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A surge of car thefts and break-ins across Grand County have police reminding people to lock their cars, remove valuables and not leave the keys in the car.