Essex Man Charged in Professor's Death - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Essex Man Charged in Professor's Death

Joseph McCarthy Joseph McCarthy
John Reiss John Reiss

Essex, Vermont - May 27, 2009

It's been eight months since a 911 call sent police to the Essex home of St. Michael's College Professor John Reiss.

When they arrived they found Reiss already dead from a single gunshot that had come through a window and hit him in the back as he ate dinner with his wife.

Police also found four men still target shooting in a neighbor's yard about 700 feet away. Police said the men were taking turns firing several guns, including an assault rifle.

Wednesday, Joseph McCarthy, 39, the neighbor who built the target range, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter for the Reiss shooting.

"Mr. McCarthy admitted to setting up the range that the distance from the range to the Reiss home was approximately 750 feet," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan said.

Police say they can't prove which of the four men fired the fatal shot, but they can prove it came from the assault rifle fired at the range that was negligently designed by Joe McCarthy with the Reiss house directly in the line of fire.

"He should have known that it was likely that somebody would have been struck by a bullet and that's exactly what happened," Donovan said.

Donovan says he obtained an indictment from the county grand jury for the manslaughter charge last week before he filed charges in district court. He says it took eight months to complete the investigation because it was complicated.

McCarthy pled not guilty and was released on conditions.

Donovan says the investigation continues and others may still be charged.

Brian Joyce - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Essex Shooting Investigation Stalled

Police Suspect Target Shooters Killed Essex Man

Rifle Shot Kills Essex Man

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