Ferrum student Jessica Goode grabbed her 2 friends and headed to the outdoors for some quiet time and to clear her head. They were looking for turtles for a biology assignment. She never came back. Another young person killed while away at college!
Local resident Jason D. Cloutier went out hunting. He dropped to one knee and fired at sound, killing Jessica and wounding one of her friends. He had gotten off work early and went out to do what he loved doing this time of year.
Ferrum is known for its outdoors way of life. It is a 4 year college located about 35 miles south of Roanoke. Students check their hunting weapons in with the campus security chief who keeps them in her weapons safe. Jessica Goode was studying the environment. Cloutier was not a student. Ferrum College is in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and it is definitely in hunting country.
What went wrong? Cloutier didn’t have a hunting license and he wasn’t on his own property. He was on county property which does not allow hunting. He obviously shot at what he heard, not what he saw. That action violates the first law of hunting.
Goode and friends weren’t wearing orange blaze in the woods during hunting season. Any woods or field can be dangerous during hunting season, even woods where no hunting is allowed. Meanwhile, 1 life has been snuffed out, and another wounded. Cloutier will probably do jail time. According to the Washington Post:
Cloutier remains free on a $20,000 bond, charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless use of a firearm and trespass, charges that together carry a maximum of 12 years in jail and $5,000 in fines. Toxicology reports are pending, and law enforcement officials said they might add charges as the investigation continues.
The bullet passed through Jessica Goode and entered the hand of Regis Boudinot. He will recover. His step-mother, meanwhile, is pleading for clemency for the shooter and was quoted in the Washington Post on Friday:
On Thursday, Boudinot’s stepmother appealed for an end to recriminations against the hunter, who told authorities he mistook the students for deer.
“We all make mistakes, and people are saying horrible things about him without knowing the facts,” Kimberly Boudinot wrote in an e-mail to friends. “I have never known hate and cruelty to triumph over love, and I ask that everyone remember this.”
Too many of our students are dying on or near Virginia campuses. It is enough to make a person not send their kid to college–that and the tuition increases.
The community is split over the rights of hunters and those who are horrified that an accident like this could happen.
Who is at fault here, if anyone? Does an accident like this give hunters all a black eye? Is it incumbent upon those who want to enjoy the woods to deck themselves out in orange blaze or is it the sole responsibility of the hunter? Many of our contributors on Anti are gun rights people. We want to hear from you.
Notice on Ferrum’s website.