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January 03, 2008

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Update: Kansas Man Charged In Teen Goose Hunter’s Death

Last month, we posted two news stories about the death of 18-year-old Kansan Beau Arndt, who was killed while goose hunting by a single rifle shot apparently fired by a 57-year-old Topeka man, who was taken into custody but not arrested. Your comments poured in, most arguing that the shooter should be charged and discussing what the charge should be. Here’s the latest, from The Capital-Journal:

A Topeka business owner [Theron Thomas Kent] was charged Wednesday in Lyon County District Court in Emporia with involuntary manslaughter and three misdemeanors linked to last month's accidental shooting death of 18-year-old hunter Beau Arndt. . . .

State law defines involuntary manslaughter as an unlawful killing committed recklessly, during the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner, or linked to the violation of any state law enacted for the protection of human life or safety.

According to this report, Kent claimed he was firing at a coyote. Check out the full story and tell your reaction.


Tommy S.

This is as it should be in regards to the shooter. The judge and jury will determine the sentencing.

But now, after realizing he is the only one being charged, I am a bit confused.

Two other men were with him. They fled the scene. They lied to investigators. They could have left a dying man in the snow.

I always thought running from a crime, then lying about it got you twice the time.

Why the hell are the other two bozos skating free?


To have filed lesser charges would have been unforgivable. While I figure that at least part of the charges will be dropped or lessened, hopefully the "manslaughter" charges will stick!
This will not by any means stop such activities from happening, but maybe it will at least slow it down a degree or two!


Tommy S.

If I am with a guy that shoplifts and I walk out with him, and attepmt to drive away. If I know there was wrong-doing, then helped in a get-away, then lied about it, only to later be tied directly to the crime, what the hell will happen to me? I will be tried as an ACCOMPLICE! They might not have known there was a death involved. They MIGHT NOT HAVE KNOWN. BUT THEY CERTAINLY KNEW THEY WERE BREAKING SEVERAL LAWS.

I don't want anyone to think we hunters are like this. I don't want to be thought of as a trespasser, or a poacher, or irresponsible in my activities.

If these guys are not all tried for something, we get a black eye.

And it will be worse than the one they have already given us.


I think the charges are fair. I would like to see how the trial turns out.

Does anyone know if he knew that he shot someone when it happened?


Coyote, eh?


Well - the elephant in this room has to wonder: is the "coyote defense" providing cover for the unlawful hunting charges? Forgive my skepticism - it truly is unfounded, but something...something... (sigh)

We don't like stories without happy endings, but to deny them is to deny half of life. To paraphrase one of the better writers around here, life is 'roughly equal parts of suffering and wonder'.

This one will end with all of us looking down at our boots, cussing the dirt.

Trae B.

So is it legal to shoot coyotes out of a truck then?I really dont think that his defense will stick.


I really do feel terrible for everyone involved...the poor kid, I can't imagine the pain his family must be going thru, and even for the shooter - I'm guessing he never meant to hurt anyone, let alone kill someone, thru a stupid and illegal act. Let's be honest - poaching is reprehensible, but illegally shooting a goose and killing a man are two completely different things, and I bet he never would have fired had he known it could have killed someone. It's not like he went into a store to commit armed robbery and someone got "accidentally" shot. I can just imagine what went thru his mind too when he realized / heard what had happenned. Just horrible for everyone.

Tommy S.

If he went into a store and committed a robbery, and "accidentally" shot someone, he would be looking at murder; not manslaughter.

The fact that he would behave with a gun ,in that way, suggests he would do it again, probably has before, and has no regret until he knows for SURE he did something terrible. Screw people who do such random, dangerous crap with no regard for others safety, property or lives.
The other two should be charged as accomplices, and at least have charges of lying to investigators stick!


I think he will get off with a slap on the hand. Maybe the fact that he took the dreams and aspirations of a young man away forever and left a family without a son will remain in his head forever.


I dunno. I pray for the victim's family. I pray for the perp. I can't imagine what he's going through!
The best that I can hope for is that we will all learn from this incident and maybe that will save lives down the road.

Brucie Boy

This was some seriously stupid sh**. I know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty but that only applies in the courtroom and not here. This Kent fellow wasn't shooting at a coyote, he was road hunting for geese. Even if he was shooting at a coyote he still violated more than a few game laws (not to mention safety rules)! And now some poor kid is dead. As for the others in the truck at the time of this crime; at least one of them is lying and he should suffer some consequences as well. Nevertheless, there really isn't any good ending to this scenario. Sad, really sad.

don mitchell

Tommy s., you hit the nail on the head. this is one big stupid mess and if they are found guilty,i hope they get lots of jail time.lots of time to think about it.


John R

The Capital-Journal article stated that one of the three occupants in the pickup truck exited the truck to shoot at a coyote. While he was doing so the subject charged rolled down the window and fired at the goose decoys from inside the truck (definitely a no-no in any state). The guy shooting at the coyote may or may not have broken any hunting laws depending upon the local game laws. Whether or not they knew someone was shot, only God knows and I refuse to speculate. I do agree that this incident gives hunters a black eye. I'm sure Bubba and others well remember the late 70's and early 80's when articles abounded in hunting magazins concerning the slob hunter and how long it took us to clean up our image.


We have had 3 shootings in the past few years here in Vt., all resulting in death. One young man was killed as he left the woods in the late afternoon, one was shot as he sat in a tractor in his field, the third was killed as he was walking down a logging road. All three shooters claimed to be shooting "at a coyote". It's a poor defense as I see it, but our court system seems to buy it....


I dont consider the "Slob Hunter" even in the same realm as us here. They are common crimals to be lumped in with drug dealers and armed robbers.I dont know this guy that did the shooting,not accident, but he made a terrible and seriously stupid mistake that he has to pay for.

Steve Etzel

I live in Topeka. Today our newspaper headline reads: "Probation denied to hunter". It should have read: Life denied to hunter...Poacher gets off with slap on the wrist. That young man who died in that field and his friends who tried desperatley to save his life are hunters. I'm not sure what those three that were in the truck are but they are not hunters.

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