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April 29, 2019

A Saskatchewan hunter who thought he was shooting an elk, and instead fatally shot another hunter northeast of Prince Albert, has been sentenced to seven months in jail.

Following his release from custody, Austyn Adamko will also be on a two-year probation order with conditions that he pay thousands of dollars in restitution to the victim’s family, defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle confirmed. He is also banned from possessing firearms for the rest of his life.

Adamko pleaded guilty in February to careless use of a firearm and unauthorized possession of a firearm in connection with the death of 23-year-old Jordan Darchuk. He was initially charged with criminal negligence causing death.

He was sentenced Monday in Melfort provincial court after the Crown argued last month for a one-and-a-half year sentence; the defence sought a 90-day jail term.

Darchuk and Adamko had been hunting, separately, south of Weirdale on Sept. 16, 2017. Darchuk was walking back to his truck through the field, wearing a red hoodie and camouflage backpack, when he was fatally shot in the chest.

In his decision, Judge Lloyd Stang called Adamko’s actions “a momentary lapse in judgment for an individual who was a well-seasoned hunter,” Pfefferle summarized. He said the judge balanced that mitigating factor with the “gravity of the loss of life,” going through each victim impact statement from Darchuk’s family members and friends in extraordinary detail when deciding an appropriate sentence. 

Darchuk loved hunting, fishing, and boating and was an Occupational Health and Safety Officer at the time of his death, according to his obituary.

“Jordan was an impressive leader,” the obituary read. “He was confident, organized, hardworking, and somehow always managed to keep busy with multiple side projects, even while having a career and busy social life. Jordan truly left a legacy; his life was taken away too soon for us to understand.”

but according to an agreed statement of facts, Adamko thought he was shooting at a young elk when he fired his rifle at Darchuk — after looking through his scope — from 214 metres away.

During his sentencing hearing, Adamko told Darchuk’s family he knows there is nothing he can do to bring Jordan back, and he cannot comprehend how they must be feeling.ellysium


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