Short jail term over shooting of girl in horse-drawn buggy

Location of Holmes County in Ohio.
Location of Holmes County in Ohio.

An Amish man from Ohio will spend just 30 days in jail over the accidental fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl who was riding her horse-drawn buggy home from a Christmas party.

Marion R. Yoder, 28, of  Fredericksburg, had fired his .50-caliber muzzle-loading rifle into the air to clear it after a hunting trip on December 15 last year.

The bullet travelled about one and a half miles before hitting Rachel Yoder, who is also Amish, in the head. The pair are not related.

The 10pm shooting happened when the teenager was only three miles from home, having attended a work Christmas fathering. She fell from buggy when shot. The horse continued home, prompting her brother to begin a search.

He found his sister shortly after, but she died in hospital the following day.

Marion Yoder entered a guilty plea in court on Tuesday morning to a  first-degree misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide.

County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Rinfret sentenced Yoder to serve a maximum  of 180 days in county jail in Millersburg, but suspended all but 30 days of the sentence.

Yoder was also placed on probation for three years and forfeited the weapon involved in the shooting.

He will report to jail on Friday.

He was also banned from hunting or owning a firearm during the term of his probation.

Yoder apologised and expressed remorse during the hearing.

He had originally faced a  third-degree felony charge of reckless homicide over the shooting, but the victim’s family indicated to prosecutors that they did not favor pursuing a felony charge.

The case was brought by Steve Knowling, the prosecutor for Holmes County in northern Ohio.



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