News: Buker, Ervin Sr. (shooting)

Contact:  Clark Co. Press

Clark Co., Press, Neillsville, WI; June 18, 2003:

There is sufficient evidence to believe that a Willard man, Ervin K. Buker, Sr., probably did recklessly shoot a .30-.30 rifle at a neighbor last April, according to a judge's ruling this week.

Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell came to that conclusion following a half-hour preliminary hearing on Monday during which two witnesses testified. He then ordered the case against the 53- year-old Buker bound over for trial.

Buker is charged with first degree reckless endangerment, a felony having a potential maximum penalty of 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, for allegedly shooting at Joseph Brummeyer in an April 10th altercation. The incident was brought on, Buker claims, after Brumrneyer made an obscene gesture at him.

Buker also faces three misdemeanor charges that include possessing a firearm while intoxicated, pointing a firearm at another and disorderly conduct, charges that could bring additional penalties of 21 months in prison and another $21,000 in fines.

Free on a $1,000 cash bond, Buker was in court during Monday's hearing. Sitting next to his court- appointed attorney, Linda Smith, of Neillsville, he listened first to the testimony of his son, Ken Buker.

Responding to questions directed to him by Clark County District Attorney Darwin Zwieg, Ken Buker recalled that he had been told by his father that Brummeyer had "flipped him off' with his middle finger earlier that day.

Asked by Zwieg for more detail about his father's reaction to the gesture, Buker would only say, "He was mad. That's all I know."

Brummeyer was called to the witness stand and, in questioning by Zwieg, recalled that Buker came to his residence unexpectedly and began cursing him for the obscene gesture. Buker was "hollering" as he demanded an apology, Brummeyer stated.

"He leveled the rifle at me," Brummeyer said, demonstrating on the stand how Buker placed the butt of the rifle against his shoulder and took aim from a distance of 20 feet.

"Get over here!" Buker yelled out as he fired the gun, Brummeyer recalled.

Brummeyer said he heard the gun go off, but he was not struck.

From his manner and tone of voice, Buker appeared to have been drinking, said Brummeyer.

Following the testimony, Counsell said that from the testimony it appeared that there were sufficient grounds to sustain the first degree reckless endangerment charge, and ordered the case bound over for trial.

An arraignment, in which Buker is to formally enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges, has been scheduled for June 27th, at 10:40 a.m. A trial date may be set at that time, as well.



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