Hunter acquitted of killing man mistaken for bear
SALEM, Oregon (AP) - An Oregon hunter has been found not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of a Marine reservist from California he says he mistook for a bear.
The Salem jury deliberated for about two hours Friday before acquitting Eugene Collier, The Statesman Journal newspaper reported.
Collier, 68, was the last witness to take the stand. He told jurors he was shooting to kill when he fired the .270-calibre bullet that caused the death of Christopher Ochoa, 20, of French Camp, California, in October 2011 near Silver Falls State Park.
Collier was hunting with his 12-year-old grandson and said he was sure he was shooting a bear "I made a terrible mistake. It was a tragic accident, I didn't mean for it to happen," Collier said. "I'm terribly sorry." He and his wife met with members of Ochoa's family privately after the trial ended. Neither family spoke with the media after the verdict.