York man to serve 18 mos. following accidental shooting

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Brandon Bartlett (Courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
Brandon Bartlett (Courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

Brandon Bartlett, the man who accidentally shot and killed former James City County Board of Supervisors member David W. Ware, Jr., will serve roughly 18 months in prison.

Bartlett, 23, was sentenced July 21 to 10 years, with 8 years and 6 months suspended, for a charge of involuntary manslaughter in York-Poquoson Circuit Court.

On Dec. 19, 2014, Ware, 68, was hunting a fox that had been killing chickens in the area when he passed through Bartlett’s backyard, according to court documents.

Bartlett, who had been unloading hunting equipment from his truck, heard noise in the yard and saw “white” in the marsh. Thinking he had seen two deer fighting, Bartlett grabbed a loaded shotgun and shot into the marsh.

Bartlett and his girlfriend, who was present at the time of the shooting, discovered Ware still alive and suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest, documents show. Bartlett immediately called 911.

Authorities found Bartlett attempting to perform CPR on Ware when they arrived on the scene, but Ware was already dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

After months of investigating the incident, York-Poquoson Commonwealth’s Attorney Benjamin Hahn agreed to waive Bartlett’s preliminary hearing and reduced the felony second-degree murder charge to involuntary manslaughter in 2015.

“We found after looking under every stone that that was proper way to go,” Hahn said before the hearing.

Involuntary manslaughter is defined by the Virginia State code as the killing of a human being through recklessness or negligence but without malice or intent.

Ware represented the Powhatan District on the board of supervisors from 1976 until 1979, according to James City County records.

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