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Ruby Ridge Shooter To Stand Trial

January 7, 1998

BONNERS FERRY, Idaho (AP) _ A judge today ordered an FBI sharpshooter to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death of Randy Weaver’s wife in the 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge.

Magistrate Judge Quentin Harden decided there was probable cause to bind over Lon Horiuchi for trial on the charge that Boundary County Prosecutor Denise Woodbury filed in August.

Harden scheduled a Feb. 13 arraignment hearing in District Court in Boundary County before Judge James Michaud.

Meanwhile, a hearing is scheduled in Boise on Monday before U.S. Judge Edward Lodge on a defense motion to have the case remanded to federal court.

Harden, who could have dismissed the charge, ruled after reviewing briefs that the defense and prosecution recently submitted on whether Horiuchi was negligent, reckless or careless when he fired the shot that killed Vicki Weaver on Aug. 22. 1992.

Lawyers for Horiuchi have argued that the state had failed to meet its burden of proof that Horiuchi was grossly negligent, or that ``standards of care″ had been violated.

At a Dec. 17 hearing, Harden found that Horiuchi unlawfully killed Weaver without malice. But he held off ruling on whether the sniper would be bound over for trial.

Harden made no comments on the reason for his decision in the written order issued today.

Horiuchi, a special agent and sniper on an FBI hostage rescue team, was among dozens of federal agents who surrounded Randy Weaver’s mountain cabin during an 11-day standoff. Weaver, a white separatist, had been sought on an illegal-weapons charge.

Weaver’s 14-year-old son, Sam, and deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan of Boston also were killed in a gunfight that began the siege.

Kevin Harris, a Weaver family friend, was wounded and Vicki Weaver was fatally shot by the bullet that passed through the door of the Weavers’ cabin on the second day of the siege.

Horiuchi testified in 1993 during a federal trial for Weaver and Harris that he had been aiming at Harris when he fired the shot that killed Vicki Weaver. Horiuchi said he had aimed at Harris as he ran back into the cabin.

If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Horiuchi could face 10 years in prison.

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