Barber bound over to Circuit Court for involuntary manslaughter

Photo by Linda Gallagher

David Michael Barber, 45, of Gaylord, shown wearing special audio equipment for a hearing disorder, listens last week to 86th District Court Judge Robert Cooney report his findings during the conclusion of a preliminary exam regarding the death of a Sanford-area man that occurred last year near Alden on the opening day of Michigan firearms deer season.

REGION – A Gaylord area resident was bound over to Circuit Court last week on three felony charges for accidentally killing a downstate deer hunter last November.

David Michael Barber, 45, now faces one felony charge of involuntary manslaughter, one charge of felony firearms, and one charge of felony firearm causing the injury/death of Justin Edward Beutelm of Sanford, while deer hunting near Alden in Helena Township on Nov. 15, 2018, the opening day of the 2018 firearms deer season. 

86th District Court Judge Robert Cooney announced his decision to bind Barber over on the criminal charges last Wednesday, March 13 after the conclusion of a preliminary exam that initially began on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Proceedings began last week with a review of the findings from the first part of the exam in January, after which both Antrim County Prosecuting Attorney James Rossiter and defense counsel Daniel Hartman were given an opportunity to make concluding arguments.

Rossiter began by stating that he was withdrawing a criminal charge of careless discharge of a weapon and a new charge of recreational trespass which was added to the list of charges in January, then said he believed that Barber had violated the basic tenet of Hunter's Safety – always making absolutely sure of your target and beyond.

"He did not exercise ordinary care," Rossiter said, adding he believed that Barber's behavior during the Nov. 15 incident showed gross negligence, a requirement for a conviction of involuntary manslaughter.

In turn, Hartman argued that the incident was not a matter of gross negligence, but of "recklessness or carelessness."

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