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Clifton Springs hunter receives probation, community service for accidental shooting death

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  • Staff Report 

A Clifton Springs man, who unintentionally shot and killed his hunting partner in a 2021 incident, has been spared jail time. Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts announced that 62-year-old Kevin Hudson was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and five years of probation on Monday by State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran.

Hudson had previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminally negligent homicide. The tragic accident occurred on Thanksgiving Day in 2021 near Cross Road in Phelps, where Hudson and 28-year-old Zachary Barse of Gorham were hunting in a wooded area close to the Oaks Corners Fire Department.

According to police reports, Barse had shot a deer and was tracking it when Hudson, who was in a tree stand, fired at movement in a heavily-brushed area near a creek. Hudson believed he was shooting at the injured deer. Unfortunately, Barse was struck in the upper body by a single shotgun round and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Despite the desperate attempts of Hudson, who called 911, and the numerous first responders—including sheriff’s deputies, Oaks Corners and Phelps firefighters, Phelps Ambulance, and Finger Lakes Ambulance—Barse’s life could not be saved. At the time of the incident, then-sheriff’s office Lt. David Cirencione, who has since become sheriff, pointed out that Barse was wearing camouflage clothing and no blaze orange.

The decision to charge Hudson with criminally negligent homicide came after a month-long investigation by the sheriff’s office and state Department of Environmental Conservation police. The details of the investigation were not disclosed, but the charge was filed after consultation with District Attorney Ritts.

In addition to probation and community service, Justice Doran also ordered Hudson to cover the costs of Barse’s funeral expenses.