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Ohio Man Convicted of Killing Prankster Says That He 'Lost It'

March 06, 2004|From Associated Press

MILLERSBURG, Ohio — A man on trial for the fatal shooting of a tomato-throwing prankster was found guilty of misdemeanor negligent homicide Friday and sentenced to time served.

Marion Weaver had been charged with murder, which could have meant a sentence of 18 years to life. The jury decided on the lesser charge after 4 1/2 hours of deliberation.

Weaver, 58, was found guilty in the Sept. 1 death of Steven L. Keim, 23.

Keim was among a group in a cornfield tossing tomatoes at vehicles, an annual prank in the rural area.

Weaver told two officers that after his car was pelted with tomatoes and paintballs, he drove home, got a shotgun and returned to the area.

Thinking the pranksters had left the cornfield, Weaver said, he fired into the air.

"I was frustrated. I lost it," he testified. Weaver, who was friends with the Keim family, said when he learned of Keim's death, "I was devastated. I had a heart attack."

Assistant prosecutor Steve Knowling said Keim was hit by more than 100 pellets.

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