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Archive for Wednesday, September 8, 1999

SENTENCING DELAYED IN HUNTING DEATH CASE

September 8, 1999

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Sentencing for a Topeka man convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a teen in rural Douglas County was postponed Tuesday when a judge ordered the Topekan to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

District Judge Jack Murphy ordered the evaluation for Donald R. Koch, 22, of Topeka, and rescheduled the sentencing for 9 a.m. Nov. 2.

Koch and a friend, Joseph R. Beier, 21, of Topeka, were in northern Douglas County with Misty Taylor, 16, on Nov. 24 when she was killed. Beier and Koch were hunting on a county road, using a spotlight to locate deer.

According to testimony at trial, Koch was climbing into the back of the pickup truck that Beier was driving when the rifle discharged. A round struck Taylor, who was sitting in the passenger side of the truck, in the back of the head. She died at the scene.

Before Koch's trial, Murphy dismissed an illegal hunting charge against the two men.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against Beier in August, two days before his trial was to begin.

Prosecutors said that Beier didn't shoot Taylor, but they want to prove to a jury that he is guilty of involuntary manslaughter and that she died as the result of illegal hunting practices.

Douglas County Assistant Dist. Atty. Dan Dunbar said he planned to file new charges of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit criminal hunting, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in mid-August, but no charges had been filed as of Tuesday.

Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich said Dunbar was conducting research before filing the charges.

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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