The teenager indicted in the accidental fatal shooting of his 18-year-old friend pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide Monday morning and was sentenced to five years probation.
Michael Bryce Underwood, 17, was indicted in October, about six weeks after Denton Guyer student Nate Maki was shot and killed. The two were camping in a rural area of Montague County about three miles south of Bowie and were planning to go dove hunting the next morning.
Underwood was taken into custody at the scene and initially charged with underage drinking. The case was forwarded to a grand jury, which added the indictment for manslaughter. He pled guilty to the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide.
Montague County authorities always classified the shooting as accidental –– a neighbor who heard the shot and ran to help told News 8 that it appeared Underwood “was swinging (the gun) on an animal and swung too far when he pulled the trigger.”
“It’s a very tragic accident,” said Sheriff Paul Cunningham at the time of the incident.
The terms of the probation require Underwood to finish school and speak at a gun safety class before the year’s end. If he violates his probation, he will be sent to jail for an automatic two year term, said Paige Williams, district attorney for the 97th Judicial District, which includes Montague County.
Maki was a well-liked senior at Denton Guyer High School who played fullback for the state championship-winning football team. His teammates dedicated the 31-14 victory over San Antonio Brennan to his memory.