November 1, 2018


A woman found her husband dead from a rifle shot Tuesday in an orchard on their property in Keene, where he had been hunting. Authorities have determined that the fatal shot was accidental and self-inflicted.

Scott Coby was 75, and he and his wife Francine lived on Lacey Road north of the hamlet of Keene, according to Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw.

“What we believe happened is that he was seated at the base of a tree, and that when he went to stand up, he used the rifle sort of like a brace to help push himself up, and he caused it to discharge, and it discharged into his chest,” Whitelaw said Wednesday.

“He was overdue to return, and when she wasn’t able to get a hold of him by cellphone or anything, she drove up to the orchard and looked for him. She looked in his tree stand and couldn’t find him, and then when she looked across the field, she saw something orange laying on the ground. And when she went over and checked, she saw it was him. He was wearing a blaze orange coat.”

Whitelaw got the call to respond around noon. He said state police investigators and state Department of Environmental Conservation police were also involved, and after comparing notes, they came to a consensus about what had happened. Dr. Cara Sopor completed an autopsy Wednesday morning at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, confirming that a single shot from a .308 rifle was the cause of death. Whitelaw ruled the manner of death as accidental.


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