Man Charged with Manslaughter in Fatal Hunting Accident

by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to
Published October 26
, 2010

—  The man accused of fatally shooting a Watertown man in an apparent hunting accident on Oct. 18 is facing a felony charge after being arraigned Tuesday in the Town of Watertown Court.  

Terry J. Hofferberth, 43, who says he has no permanent address and lives with friends, was arraigned before Hon. James P. McClusky at 1 p.m., where he was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two violations for “hunting after legal hours” and “hunting with a shotgun during early muzzleloading season,” according to court documents.  

Bail was set at $15,000 and Hofferberth was sent to the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building following the arraignment. He was issued an application to be represented by a public defender.  

Hofferberth’s arrest was made Tuesday by Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies after a felony complaint was made against him.  

At approximately 6:45 p.m., Oct. 18, Clayton E. Typhair, 56, of 305 Gotham St., Apt. 2, was shot once in the right leg while hunting with Terry Hofferberth, Phillip S. Hofferberth, 49, of 305 Gotham St., Apt. 5, and Nicholas D. Rafus, 25, of 205 Winslow St., on the property of CSX Transportation Inc., 25859 State Route 37, in the town of Pamelia.  

On his way back to his vehicle after hunting, Terry said he “saw something in the ditch on the right side of the tracks,” according to a statement he gave to the sheriff’s department. 

“I then ejected a shell and I herd Oh you shot me you son of a bitch,” Terry said in a statement to the sheriff’s department. “I then realized I had shot someone and not a deer.”

Terry attributed “blurry”  vision to the accident, stating he is diabetic.  

“It was too dark for him to really see what was going on,” Maurice Guidry, a detective of the sheriff’s department said. “Unfortunately, he would up firing at his friend, Clayton Typhair, and hitting him.” 

Phillip said he heard yelling after the shot was fired, “but it was unclear who or what was being said.” 

Upon discovering Typhair had been shot, Phillip held him into his arms as he lay bleeding, as his brother phoned 911 on his cell phone for help.  

“He laid back into my arms and I noticed his eyes roll back and he let out a gasp of air,” Phillip said. “He did not move after that.” 

Rafus, who was walking back to the vehicles at the time, said he was unaware of what had happened when he stumbled upon the Hofferberth brothers and Typhair.  

“I walked up to Phil and he immediately took my gun,” Rafus said. “He told me that Clayton had been shot and to run and get help.” Rafus stood by the road to flag down police. 

Authorities are ruling the incident as accidental.  

Scheduled for 11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 1, is a preliminary hearing.  


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