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Archive for Tuesday, May 4, 1999

DETECTIVES TESTIFY IN SHOOTING CASE

May 4, 1999

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The boyfriend of a girl who died during a poaching accident in November told a detective "it should have been me," according to court testimony Monday.

Wearing buttons featuring Misty Taylor's face and smile, members of the girl's family listened intently Monday as detectives testified about the gunshot that killed her.

Taylor's sister, Charlotte Rawlins, even took notes.

Rawlins joined about a dozen of Taylor's family members at a preliminary hearing in Douglas County District Court for Donald Raymond Koch and Joseph Robert Beier Jr. Both are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 16-year-old's Nov. 24 death.

"It should have been me," Beier said after the shooting, according to a detective who testified.

Taylor didn't want to go hunting with the two men but agreed to so she could spend some time with Beier, said Sheriff's Det. Greg Smith, who now works in Seattle.

When the rifle misfired, Beier screamed to Koch, "You shot her; you shot my girlfriend, Misty," Smith said.

Sheriff's Det. Doug Woods said he found Taylor slumped inside a maroon Nissan that night at a residence on County Road 2190 North. He noticed a large hole in the pickup truck's back window.

Koch and Beier had been out hunting illegally with a spotlight, Sheriff's Det. Lyle Hagenbuch said, and they had spotted some deer but couldn't see them well enough. Beier, outside the parked truck with Koch, suggested that Koch get into the truck bed to get a better view, the detective said.

Straddling a low wooden wall separating the jury area from the rest of the courtroom, Hagenbuch demonstrated Koch's position in the truck at the time he shot Taylor.

The .270 rifle in his left hand, Koch grabbed a railing on the truck with his right hand, Hagenbuch said. The rifle misfired, killing Taylor, a short distance from where the truck and her body were left.

Koch, 21 at the time, admitted that he had a couple of beers earlier in the evening and had smoked some marijuana that weekend but not that night, Hagenbuch said. Beier told Smith he had had some beer and maybe some marijuana. But neither Koch nor Smith seemed under the influence, the detectives said.

Woods said he recovered two marijuana pipes and a rolled cigarette from the truck that tested positive for marijuana.

Douglas County Assistant Dist. Atty. Dan Dunbar asked Judge Jack A. Murphy to add charges of criminal hunting and conspiracy to commit criminal hunting for Beier and Koch and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia for Beier, 21. Murphy is expected to rule May 17 about whether probable cause exists to bind Koch and Beier over for trial.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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