The death of a four-year-old Bluffton boy last Friday may have been caused by what the alleged suspect considered a troublesome light.
New information says the suspect arrested the next day allegedly fired two shots from a rifle with a telescopic sight toward a light where the boy and his dad were fishing, then allegedly said, "That will teach them."
The suspect, Bruce Pond, 46, of rural Ossian, is in the Wells County Jail under a $100,000 bond, charged with reckless homicide and possession of a firearm, He was found guilty of domestic battery last year in Allen County. Such battery convictions require judges to order those convicted to stay away from guns.
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported today that police have interviewed Pond, his son, and another man, all of whom were drinking alcohol at Pond's mother's home on a pond south of Ossian on Friday.
According to the Fort Wayne paper, one of the witnesses said Pond was bothered by a light on the pier where the boy, Jacob "Jake" Michuda, and his father and two friends of his father were fishing.
At that point, said the witness, Pond got a .22-caliber rifle with a scope and fired two shots in "the general direction" of the pier. One shot hit the boy in the head and he died four hours later in Lutheran Hospital at Fort Wayne.
Documents filed in Wells Circuit Court also say Pond had his son hide the rifle in a field nearby. Police later found the gun in that field, according to the Fort Wayne paper.
The Journal Gazette reports that Pond vomited numerous times after realizing what had happened and asked police to tell the Michuda family that he never meant to kill anyone.
Wells County Prosecutor Mike Lautzenheiser says reckless homicide was charged because it would be too hard to try to prove that Pond was trying to kill the boy. Conviction of reckless homicide can draw a prison sentence of up to eight years.
"From the evidence we have at this moment, it is hard to say that he intended to kill someone. If you read the facts of the case, you will see what he did was reckless, very reckless," said Lautzenheiser.
Pond will have a status hearing on August 10 and a pretrial hearing has been set for September 12. Wells Circuit Court Judge Kenton Kiracofe entered a preliminary not guilty plea on Pond's behalf and appointed a Fort Wayne lawyer, Albert Anzini, to represent him, since Pond cannot afford to hire a lawyer.