Bucks County hunter jailed in fatal juvenile shooting in Nocamison State Park

A Warminster man shot and killed a teenager in Nocamison State Park last fall. He will be detained for 7 to 20 years after confessing to multiple charges related to the October incident on Wednesday.

On October 24, 52-year-old Kenneth Troy Heller was hunting in Bedminster State Park when he fired a shot at the lake. Heller thought his target was an animal, but instead attacked 18-year-old Jason Kurt, who was with his girlfriend and recently graduated from Penrich High School. Kurt was shot in the head and suddenly passed out and died two days later.

The shooting occurred near the gate of Old Ridge Road leading to the State Park, just across the pier.

The prosecutor said that shortly afterwards, Heller fled the scene and tried to hide evidence of his involvement.

Kurt’s girlfriend reported to the police that she saw a man wearing an orange vest with hunting gear leaving near the gate of Laoling Road. Her emotional 911 call was broadcast at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

A few days after Kurt’s death, the police Start searching for three cars What witnesses saw in the area before and after the shooting. One of the cars was traced to Heller.

The detective who interviewed Heller’s colleague learned that Heller did not go to work on the Monday after the shooting. According to the prosecutor, he was obviously “shocked” when he returned the next day. A colleague said that Heller sent away guns, ammunition and hunting equipment shortly afterwards.

Investigators met with Heller and his lawyers in December. Heller admitted that he had fired his 0.17 caliber Marlin rifle near the gate of Nocamison State Park on Old Ridge Road just after 5 pm on October 24. .

Kenneth HellerSource/Stag Company DA

Kenneth Troy Heller

A search of Heller’s home and vehicle was carried out on December 10, and rifles, ammunition and an orange hunting vest were found, with his 2020 hunting license affixed on the back. The prosecutor said that a metal knuckle with a dagger was also found.

The prosecutor said Heller admitted that he had not tried to notify the authorities that he had fired a shot.

quite Plead guilty He was sentenced by General Defense Judge Jeffrey L. Finley for unintentional homicide, reckless harm, weapon crime and two crimes of violating the hunting law for failing to provide assistance to Kurt.

The plea agreement was reached after consultation with Kurt’s family, and his crime was sentenced to the maximum sentence.

“Unable to recover from it,” Kurt’s father Said in a statement At the time of sentencing. “Our hearts will never heal.”

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub thanked the community for providing key tips to help investigators find Heller.

“Although the court has issued a very strong message of punishment and deterrence in imposing the highest penalty on Mr. Heller, there is no winner here,” Weintraub said. “The death of Jason Kurt is still heartbreaking. But with a confession to end this prosecution, I hope that Jason’s family can now remember him and grieve for his loss in their own way, with Mr. Heller and Criminal Justice The system is separated.”

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