A Rochester man, charged with killing his sister-in-law while out hunting in Caledonia in November, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Livingston County Court to one count of criminally negligent homicide, a class E felony.
As part of a plea bargain with the Livingston County District Attorney’s Office, John W. Lander, 50, is expected to serve four months of weekends in the Livingston County Jail.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 13.
Lander’s charges stems from an incident that occurred Nov. 27 in which he was participating in a deer drive with a group of fellow hunters.
During the drive, another member of the hunting party fired their gun and Lander began to run toward the sound.
While running, he began to remove his shotgun from where it hung over his shoulder.
While he was doing so, the shotgun fired and struck Lander’s sister-in-law, Sharon Lander, who was behind him.
The incident occurred near the 900 block of River Road in Caledonia.
Sharon Lander was struck in the abdomen. She was declared dead at Strong Memorial Hospital
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Lander’s failure to adhere to the tenets of firearm safety and his negligent actions, including carrying a loaded firearm with the safety off and running with a loaded firearm, resulted in Sharon Lander’s death.
The District Attorney’s Office will continue to work with officers with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to prosecute deer-poaching and other environmental crimes in Livingston County.
In light of Lander’s guilty plea, DEC is reminding hunters of the basic rules of firearm safety. Among the rules are:
1. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
2. Always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
3. Never point your firearm at anything you don’t wish to kill.
4. Keep your finger off of the trigger and outside the trigger guard of your firearm until you make the conscious decision to shoot.
5. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it to prevent shooting something unintentionally.
The District Attorney’s Office and DEC are asking the public to report an environmental crime of they witness it or believe an environmental law has been violated.