A Platte County jury has found a Weston woman guilty of firing a pistol in the direction of young men who were hunting on neighboring property near her residence.
Katherine I. Hausold, 52, was convicted last week of misdemeanor assault and interfering with lawful hunting following a two-day jury trial.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said, “The jury sent a clear message that you cannot shoot in the direction of hunters just because you don’t like hunting. One of the victims testified he heard bullets flying by his head and hitting the trees around him. It is a wonder no one was hurt or killed by this woman’s incredibly reckless actions.”
Prosecutors told the jury that three young men were hunting on land north of property owned by Hausold on Dec. 10, 2006. At about 5:15 p.m., one of the men fired a single shot, killing a deer. Moments later, one of the hunters was walking across an open field when he heard eight to ten gunshots coming from the direction of Hausold’s residence.
The hunter told the jury he heard bullets flying by his head, hitting the trees behind him. He dropped to the ground and “belly crawled” toward the woods for cover.
After leaving the hunting ground without injury, the three hunters and a parent went to Hausold’s residence. When told that bullets were flying within inches of one of hunter’s head, Hausold allegedly leaned out the door of her house and said, “Good!”
In addition, a neighbor testified that Hausold told him she had fired “over the heads” of hunters or trespassers.
Hausold testified at trial that she was trying to acclimate her horses to the sounds of gun shots and that she had fired several rounds at a target. She told a Platte County Sheriff’s Deputy that she did not know if anyone was in the direction of the gunfire, and she “did not care.”
Hausold also testified that she believed young, inexperienced men should not be allowed to hunt.
The jury recommended Hausold be sentenced to 15 days in jail for her reckless conduct and a fine. She is scheduled to be sentenced on August 13 by Associate Circuit Court Judge Gary Witt, who presided over the trial.
Zahnd said, “When the victim in this case heard bullets flying past his head, he thought of his child’s first birthday, which was only one week away. Thankfully, all three young men got out of the woods safely, in spite of this defendant’s irresponsible gunplay.”
The case was investigated by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. It was tried by Assistant Prosecutors Joe Vanover and Lindsey Mills.