Animal Control Officer Tries to Shoot Cow, Kills Farmer Instead

Officer on trial for involuntary manslaughter

FLOYD, Va. -- A Floyd County animal control officer who said he intended to shoot a wayward cow is on trial for killing a farmer instead.

Jurors could begin deliberations Wednesday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Garland Nester, who is accused of killing 75-year-old Paul Belcher near Meadows of Dan, on May 29 of last year.

Belcher was helping Nester round up the 850-pound animal when he was fatally shot by the 45-year-old defendant.

Belcher's death was the result of a bullet ricocheting off the cow's right foreleg, according to Defense attorney David Damico.

But prosecutor Clifford Hapgood said Nester shot at the cow in anger after he had chased the animal for an hour.

Nester was negligent and "needs to be punished," Hapgood said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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