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Target shooter who killed Utah teen avoids jail sentence

February 14, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A target shooter in Utah who accidentally shot and killed a 14-year-old boy was ordered to teach gun safety, in addition to paying a fine, community service and two years’ probation.

A judge on Wednesday sentenced Kayleen Richins, who was convicted of negligent homicide, to appear in an educational video for a sportsmen’s group and teach young hunters about the importance of knowing their backstop.

Richins, 40, shot and killed Zackary Kempke in September when she fired at a target in a remote aspen forest in the Monte Cristo area. Richins did not know the target was situated several hundred feet in front of a road, according to court documents.

Kempke was riding in a Jeep on the road with his family when Richins fired her rifle.

Prosecutors did not seek jail time in part because of Richins’ remorse, Rich County Attorney Benjamin Willoughby said.

But 1st District Judge Thomas Willmore ultimately ordered that Richins spend two years on probation, which will include paying a $2,500 fine and 480 hours of community service.

Willmore ordered that Richins partner with a hunting or gun safety organization and spend 300 of those hours creating a video about hunter safety, to tell the public about what she had done and the importance of using backstops when target shooting.

The other 180 hours would be spent speaking at hunter safety youth trainings.