Top 10 of 2013: No. 10 — Alleged drunk hunter finally agrees to plea deal offer

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By The Staff

The saga of a Lawrenceburg man who allegedly hunted under the influence and shot at another dove hunter finally came to a close with him pleading guilty on a Class D felony.
David Gaines, 41, was first charged with a misdemeanor, but just days before he was to stand trial in Anderson District Court, the Commonwealth Attorney’s office took the case to the grand jury, which then indicted Gaines on three felony counts of wanton endangerment.
Gaines again pleaded guilty but took a plea offer in December that includes having the charges expunged from his record after six months.
The offer calls for Gaines to serve one-year of supervised probation, not have access to a firearm and other conditions, according to documents on file in Anderson County Circuit Court.
Once the year is served, the charges against Gaines will be expunged from his record, according to his attorney, Kevin Fox.
“David was willing to enter a plea and, given the nature and short term of this diversion, it was in his best interest to take the plea and resolve this,” Fox said Monday by phone.
The case against Gaines dates back more than a year and started as he and others were hunting doves in a public field off Gilberts Creek Road.
Burkhead, who retired from Fish and Wildlife several years ago, claimed shot from Gaines’ gun “hit him rather hard” despite a report that shows Gaines was nearly 200 yards away when he fired.
Gaines originally faced misdemeanor charges in Anderson District Court, but those charges were ramped up to three felonies just days before he was scheduled to stand trial.
Allegedly shooting at Burkhead resulted in one felony charge. The others stem from two people hunting with Burkhead at the time, who did not claim they had been hit.