Archived Story

No excuses for shooter

Published 9:40pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Can a man point a gun loaded with hollow-point bullets at the chest of another man and pull the trigger without intending to murder?

Common sense says “no,” but a Cass County jury said “yes” last week. The jury could not have been more wrong.

They convicted Elkhart’s Kevin Brian Vint of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder for shooting Edwardsburg’s Trevor Claire twice in an Edwardsburg pole barn in January. The prosecution was asking for attempted murder, the defense was claiming self-defense.

Claire was working under his van when Vint began pointing a gun at him using a laser-dot sight. Claire got out from under the van and stepped toward Vint, who shot him twice, once in the chest and once in the leg.

A surgeon testified that 99 out of 100 patients with Claire’s injuries would’ve died that day. In other words, it’s a miracle Claire survived. If he would’ve died, Vint would be in jail for murder.

And yet a jury decided Vint didn’t mean to kill Claire when he shot him in the chest, at close range, using a gun filled with hollow-point bullets and outfitted with a laser-dot sight.

It’s common sense. When you point a gun at someone’s chest and pull the trigger, you are shooting to kill.

Claire still isn’t out of the woods yet, the surgeon said. Major surgery and a long rehabilitation process still await him. Even half a year after being shot, Claire still can’t eat solid food. Doctors don’t expect him to ever fully recover.

Meanwhile, Vint sits in the Cass County Jail awaiting sentencing before Judge Michael Dodge Sept. 21.

Assault with intent to do great bodily harm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.

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