Pennsylvania hunter charged in connection to 18 year old’s killing

Pennsylvania hunter charged in connection to 18 year old's killing

A hunter was charged with the killing of a Pennsylvania teenager who was fatally shot in October while watching the sunset with his girlfriend near a lake, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Kenneth Troy Heller, 52, of Warminster, is charged with criminal homicide, recklessly endangering another person, possession of an instrument of crime, possession of a prohibited offensive weapon and two hunting law violations, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. 

Jason Albert Kutt, 18, was fatally shot in October while watching a sunset with his girlfriend, prosecutors said. 

Jason Albert Kutt, 18, was fatally shot in October while watching a sunset with his girlfriend, prosecutors said.  (Bucks County District Attorney’s Office)

Prosecutors said 18-year-old Jason Kutt was shot in the back of the head on Oct. 24 while sitting with his girlfriend at the edge of Lake Nockamixon at Nockamixon State Park. The girlfriend told police that she saw a man in an orange vest standing behind a yellow gate about 550 feet away looking in their direction after the shooting, Weintraub said. 

Investigators narrowed their list of potential suspects after tracking down three vehicles seen at the park, one of which belonged to Heller. After the shooting, he failed to appear for work the following Monday and was visibly “shook up” when he returned Tuesday, Heller’s co-workers told authorities. 

“I do not believe that it was Mr. Heller’s intent to shoot to kill Jason Kutt,” Weintraub said. “He never knew the man, they had no animus. This wasn’t a ‘Hey, I’m going to try it out and see what’s it’s like to be a killer’ moment for Mr. Heller. He has expressed remorse.”

Heller’s co-workers also said he gave away his firearms, hunting gear and ammunition after the shooting. A search of his vehicle on Dec. 10 yielded a .17-caliber Marlin rifle, ammunition and an orange hunting vest with a 2020 hunting license issued to Heller attached to the back of the vest, Weintraub said.

On Tuesday, Heller and his attorney met with detectives, and he admitted to firing the shot that killed Kutt, Weintraub said 

(Bucks County District Attorney’s Office)

Heller surrendered to authorities Wednesday and was ordered held without bail during a preliminary arraignment. He has agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and the remaining charges at an April court appearance. 

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He faces up to 20 years in prison. Weintraub said Kutt’s family agreed to the plea deal. 

“Clearly this isn’t a perfect ending, perfect would mean we have Jason back,” Weintraub said. “That’s just not how real life works.”

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