CO: Morosko sentenced to jail in Cortez for fatal shooting of bowhunter

Morosko sentenced to jail for fatal shooting of bowhunter – The Journal (


Ronald Morosko, a black powder hunter convicted of criminally negligent homicide and careless hunting in the 2021 shooting death of bowhunter Gregory Gabrisch, was sentenced Friday in Montezuma County Combined Courts in Cortez.

Chief Judge Todd Plewe handed down a 90-day jail sentence, plus 12 months’ state-supervised probation for the criminally negligent homicide conviction.

As a convicted felon, Morosko is not allowed to legally possess firearms or ammunition, which prevents him from hunting with a gun.

Plewe said he will recommend to Colorado Parks and Wildlife that Morosko’s hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and all compact states be suspended for life.

Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Reed recommended a two-year prison sentence plus probation. The maximum jail time for the criminally negligent homicide is three years in jail.

Plewe said there “was no excuse” for Morosko’s actions that killed Gabrisch, and that Morosko failed to follow basic hunter safety rules.

Defense attorney Kenneth Pace talks with members of Ron Morosko’s family after Morosko was sentenced to jail in the fatal shooting of a bowhunter in 2021.
“Any hunter who violates these rules has been careless and or criminally negligent and must suffer the consequences,” Plewe said. “Hunting is inherently dangerous, and it is the hunter’s obligation to everyone to be safe. You, sir, were not sure of your target, what was in front of you.”

Before the January trial, Plewe rejected a proposed plea agreement by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office that did not include jail time.

“Jail time is appropriate,” Plewe said, in explaining why he rejected the plea. “I sense Mr. Morosko that you have true remorse, sadness, that you feel sorry for what you have done, but I am concerned that you’re not fully accepting responsibility.”

Plewe rejected claims that the incident was an accident and noted the jury’s conviction of criminal negligence means jurors also did not believe it was an accident.

Defense attorney Kenneth Pace stated that Morosko’s conviction will be appealed. He asked Plewe to stay the sentence and release Morosko on an appellate bond while the appeal played out.

Pace said the appeal is based on legitimate issues including qualifications of experts in the trial.

Plewe rejected the request for a sentence stay and appellate bond and ordered Morosko be taken into custody. Morosko was handcuffed by court security and led out of the courtroom.

He will serve his sentence at the Montezuma County Detention Center.


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