Thursday, May 23, 2013
STARKS -- Kerry Hebert, shot by hunters on his property in October, is recovering from his wounds, but he is frustrated that the case itself isn't closer to resolution.
Investigators are still waiting for the state police crime lab in Augusta to process evidence following the Oct. 31 shooting, according to Chief Deputy Dale Lancaster of the Somerset County Sheriff's Department.
"I know its frustrating, but because this was not a homicide it is not being prioritized. There is only one crime lab in the state," Lancaster said.
Police have named no suspects in the shooting. Hebert was shot in the abdomen after telling a group of hunters that they were too close to his home.
On Friday he said he was still recovering, although his health has improved. A self-employed consultant, Hebert said he has been able to do some work from home as he continues to get medical treatment.
"I still have a good wound in my back," he said.
The lack of charges has been frustrating for him and his family.
"I would like to know what's going to happen but don't yet," he said.
Family friend Erin Norton said many people in the community are upset by the lack of action.
"I've received calls from people wanting to know who were the people that did this and why haven't they been named. People are asking why no action has been taken," she said. "The Heberts have two small children and their dad was shot. It's going to take a long time to recover from that."
On the day he was shot, Hebert was driving home from taking his children to a Halloween party when he encountered a group of hunters walking along Mount Hunger Road, a dirt road that serves as the driveway to the home Hebert shares with his wife, Jenn, who is also town clerk, and their two children.
Hebert told the hunters they were too close to his home. He was shot at close range in the abdomen with a .30-06 caliber rifle after stopping to talk to two men also from the hunting party farther up the road, Norton, who is also town treasurer, said at the time.
Hebert was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound through his body.
In December the community organized a dinner and auction to benefit the Hebert family and help pay Hebert's medical bills while he was unable to work.
"We had a tremendous turnout and were able to raise enough money to help get them through," said Norton.
Lancaster said it is not unusual for it to take six to eight months for the crime lab to process evidence. He said the Somerset County Sheriff's Department is "95 percent completed with our investigation. We are just waiting for that one missing piece from the crime lab before we can proceed."
Once the evidence is processed he said it must be presented to the district attorney before charges can be pressed or names released.
Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368