Turkey hunter is found guilty of shooting man in Cedar County

HARTINGTON — A Minneosta doctor was in District County last week to face charges involving shooting another hunter while turkey hunting in Cedar County last spring.
Phillip G. Benzmiller, 51, had admitted he had consumed alcohol ahead of the incident.
Benzmiller had originally been charged with second degree assault and the use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.
Benzmiller appeared before Judge Paul J. Vaughan Nov. 13 and was found guilty of assault in the third degree, a class one misdemeanor. Benzmiller did not show sufficient reason why the sentence should not be made.
Benzmiller was sentenced to one-year probation and is not allowed to have a firearm and consume or have any alcohol in his possession for one year.
The sentence for Benzmiller includes a $1,000 fine, $12,000 restitution, $139 court costs, probation costs of $330 along with alcohol/drug testing $60. Benzmiller is required to attend one community support group meeting each week and perform 50 hours of Community Service. All of Benzmiller’s hunting permits were revoked for the next year.
The incident occurred April 21 when Benzmiller was turkey hunting on or near the Nebraska Game and Parks designated Open Fields and Waters land west of Wynot. When Benzmiller heard a sound that resembled a turkey, he discharged his 12 gauge shotgun hitting another hunter who had been using a turkey call.
After the hunter was transported to the Sanford Hospital, Vermillion, S.D., it was determined the man had 16 shotgun pellet entrance wounds, which included a pellet lodged in the tissue of his heart and a perforated colon.
Conservation Officer Jeff Jones, a certified law enforcement officer, covered the incident.
A preliminary breath test and a blood sample had been used to determine alcohol content.
At that time, Benzmiller was arrested and later released from jail on a $70,000 bond.