Cahors friend’s death trial ‘not hunting-related’

“This tragic murder was almost written”, and therefore it could have been avoided if the hunters responsible for the hunt on December 2, 2020 had followed the basic rules. The conclusions of the Cahors state attorney’s office this Thursday evening are unequivocal and responsibility in the death of Morgan Keene, who was killed while chopping wood at home, does not appear to be up for debate. Two hunters tried in Cahors were sentenced to six months in prison.

Apology of the accused

He is a pale-faced, hesitant man with a trembling voice who is called to the bar on Thursday morning. Julien Ferral is smartly dressed for the audience, in white jeans and a shirt, with messy hair, used to boots and field uniforms. His arms hang across his body, he clenches his fists and talks about his anxiety. Repeats several times “Sorry”, “it was wrong”, “I think about it every day”.

A young man who lost his 7-year-old daughter-in-law a few years ago to a drunken farmer who ran over him with his tractor tells how he was taken hunting by his brother-in-law. “to clear your head”. Julien Ferral said that he was sincere and the audience believed him, especially in the first row, behind the defendants, where Morgan Keen’s friends sat next to the victim’s brother Rowe, petrified with grief. He won’t talk. Michael says he feels sorry for the hunter. The two boys are the same age.

The hunter guesses and shoots the boar

Julien Ferral was an apprentice hunter when the tragedy happened. He passed his license just six months ago. So, during the hunts, he is silent, listens to the most experienced and executes. Undoubtedly, this complacency and lack of confidence led him to do something irreparable.. December 2, 2020, around 16:35, night falls, the hunter sets up where he is told, the shooting range between the road, a field with sheep and a hanging garden.

Morgan cuts wood on Keene’s property. Julien Ferrat sees a shadow in the trees, on top of a low wall, thinks it is a boar and shoots the shoots. The hunter lowered his eyes and said: “Loading my gun”, he says, repeating the gesture. He follows: “I say in my head that I miss a boar, a dark mass that goes up, stops, descends and stops again. I say to myself that mashed potatoes, it is a boar that I miss, I waited a little. I took aim, I shot. I did not identify the target well.” Meanwhile, Morgan Keene is bleeding.

Julien Ferral admits his mistake, the tone is monotonous, the information raw: “I didn’t set the target correctly”But this “rule number one” according to the public prosecutor, it was therefore not respected. A man died.

“Totally Crazy Hunting Action”

That’s not the only rule that was broken that day. Regulatory texts are written, approved, updated by Lot’s hunters and reflected in a special document, the department plan. In other words, the hunting framework is designed and approved by hunters. Although he was in custody, the search was allowed by the decision of the prefecture the day before. 15 hunters participate, “15 hunters and 16 different versions”the president of the court who will justify the search organization according to the events “absolutely crazy hunting action”.

Yesterday, the person responsible for the fiasco was also behind the wheel, the director of the hunt is called Laurent Lapergue. Blue sweatshirt, restrained anger, responds to the onslaught of criticism of his organization: do not forget to remind the rules that must be noted with each new hunt. “Made at the beginning of the draft”he said, but the hunters “Don’t listen, they’ll pee or lean over their cars”. Then, the actions of the participants on the lands where hunting is allowed or not, and the prohibited actions of the hunters who are supposed to be at the post during the hunt.

A few hours before the tragedy, Julien Ferral left his post with more experienced hunters to fetch the dogs, then he dangerously opened fire on the village and chased away the boars. A free warning that should alert the search manager, perhaps justifying the exclusion of the neophyte. The chairman also considered that the absence of an accident at that time was the issue“absolute miracle”.

Lea is the co-founder of the collective, "A hunter for a day"after the death of his friend.
After the death of her friend, Lea co-founded the collective “Un jour, un chasseur”.

© Radio France
– Thibaut Lefebvre

Consistent violation of the rules

Examples of violations of the rules follow one another, and yet, Laurent Lapergue speaks “a perfectly controlled hunt”. It will also be of no importance to the victim and his relatives. Just a note, with he expressed his condolences, almost confessed under pressure, he was lip-smacking in his last speech.

It is surely this bold attitude that, apart from negligence, partly explains the seriousness of the indictment. The public prosecutor came to this conclusion “open security breaches”disputes that “A tragic murder was almost written”. According to him, Laurent Lapergue did not intervene during the shot: “He was a hunting director in name only, he was a ghost hunting spectator”and he contributed to the circumstances of the accident. “If Julien Ferral pulled the trigger, Laurent Lapergue held the gun!”According to the prosecutor, the claim that is justified, the necessary requirements “note the seriousness of the facts” because “Society should assume that a person is killed because of disrespect for the rules.”

Two years imprisonment including six months for Julien Ferral and 18 months imprisonment including six months for Laurent Lapergue. A decision will be made on January 12, but the civil parties have already agreed.

“Punishment Message”

Because the possible condemnation of the negligent actions of the hunters is the lawyer of Maître Benoit Coussy, the brother of the victim. warning to all hunting community. As far as he knows, in judicial practice, a state representative has never gone this far: “The prosecutors in the departments are doing a lot of prevention work with the hunting federations. There are also messages where there is a sanction message, which is, ‘Be careful, hunters, be as careful as possible, because the sanction is radical and irreversible.

At the end of the meeting, the president appreciated the good conduct of the debates, at a time when the context was stormy with a strong police presence around the court. A second win for those close to Morgan Keene like Léa. After the death of his friend, he co-founded the collective “Un jour, un chasseur”, collecting the testimonies of the victims: “We are not wild“, he said, unable to stifle a smile of satisfaction,”We really don’t know what CRS is afraid of“.

This is one of the peculiarities of this trial, it took place without a priori, without ideology and verbal violence, among people from villages who wanted to understand and perhaps outline new rules for living peacefully in the same territory. Yann, long-haired, handsome, and Morgan’s friend, smokes on the steps of the courthouse. Like Leah, she’s got a smile on her face because she just attended court.”for my friend, but not for hunting“.

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