A Montague County grand jury on Monday indicted a teenager for manslaughter in the shooting death of his 18-year-old friend.
On Aug. 31, Nate Maki was killed while on a hunting trip. Police say Michael Bryce Underwood shot his friend with a rifle accidentally. He was arrested on an underage drinking charge at the scene.
According to Sheriff Paul Cunningham, Maki and Underwood were camping with two female friends in a rural pasture of Montague County. They were planning to go dove hunting the next day.
Cunningham said Underwood was “visibly upset” when speaking with authorities after the death.
“It’s a very tragic accident,” Cunningham said during a news conference days after the shooting.
The grand jury took about an hour and a half to decide to indict him for manslaughter. Bill Knowlton, the lawyer representing Underwood, said he was "absolutely" surprised by the indictment.
"We're disappointed in the grand jury's decision. I should know more in the next seven to 14 days when I see more of the evidence," Knowlton said.
Maki was a senior at Denton Guyer High School who played fullback for the football team. The case was initially presented to the grand jury on Sept. 12. The decision was delayed because three of the 12 jurors were absent.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Underwood as a Denton Guyer High School student. Nate Maki, not Underwood, attended Guyer. News 8 regrets the error.