HAVERHILL — The 2011 hunting season was particularly deadly in New England’s three northern states, starting with the shooting death of Kenneth L. Brunelle, 31, in Lisbon.
That 2011 season was marred by the shootings of hunters and others, including several fatalities, in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
But according to recent motions and a judge’s decisions on file in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, the second anniversary of Brunelle’s death will approach before the case gets under way in the fall, should it go to trial.
Wade S. Holmes of Mt. Eustis Road in Lisbon is charged with negligent homicide and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 9, 2011, shooting death of Brunelle, a Marlborough, Mass., father of two young boys. Brunelle was with his father and brother in the woods not far from Holmes’ residence shortly after sunrise on the first morning of New Hampshire’ deer rifle season that year.
Brunelle was not hunting, but was filming or photographing his relatives as they hunted, according to authorities.
A New Hampshire medical examiner said Brunelle was killed by a high-velocity rifle shot to the neck.
Holmes, 48 at the time, would later tell state police and New Hampshire Fish & Game Department officers that he mistook Brunelle for a deer before he opened fire that morning.
One Fish & Game district commander at the scene of the Lisbon fatality said New Hampshire officers have in recent years made it a point to stop referring to such incidents as “accidents.”
The state accuses Holmes of “failing to identify with certainty a target at which he was shooting,” according to the indictments, which identified his weapon as a 30.06 Winchester rifle.
It has been a battle of paperwork since then between Assistant Grafton County Attorney Jack Bell, the prosecutor, and Holmes’ attorney, Leonard Harden of Lancaster.
Last month, Holmes waived his right to a speedy trial, and Judge Peter H. Bornstein agreed to a motion to continue a hearing for 45 days that was to have taken place on May 16.
The judge also tentatively scheduled the start of a jury trial in the case for September.