PA: Bucks County hunter, who first thought he shot a groundhog at Nockamixon State Park, will spend 7-20 years in prison for fatally shooting teenager


Jason Kutt was watching the sunset with his girlfriend at Nockamixon State Park in October. More than 500 feet away, Kenneth Troy Heller raised his rifle and fired.

The .17-caliber bullet hit Kutt in the neck. He died two days later. On Wednesday in a Bucks County courtroom, Heller learned his punishment for the fatal shot: seven to 20 years in state prison.

Kutt’s parents, Ronald and Dana Kutt, spoke before the sentencing. Ronald Kutt’s voice wavered with emotion and his eyes teared up as he described how his heart will never heal.

“The biggest thing I’d do would be to hug him and tell him I love him one more time,” he said. “This was something that didn’t ever need to happen.”

Authorities said Heller, 52, of Warminster Township, did not know Kutt and the shooting was an accident. District Attorney Matt Weintraub said at the time of the shooting Heller was about 515 feet away, with only Kutt’s head visible against the setting. Heller said Wednesday he believed he was shooting at a groundhog, despite a prohibition of hunting them in the park.


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