A Knox County man who accidentally shot his hunting partner while aiming at a squirrel was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison on federal gun charges, officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Jimmy Ray McDonald, 47, told a Knox County sheriff's deputy he was in the woods with Brian Myrick on Oct. 14 when McDonald shot his .22-caliber rifle at what he thought was a squirrel, hitting Myrick in the side, according to an affidavit from an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Myrick later died.
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Federal authorities later charged McDonald with being a felon in possession of a handgun. McDonald was convicted in 1983 on a charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon and has also been convicted of theft, burglary, escape (twice) and driving on a license suspended because of a drunken-driving conviction.
McDonald was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves in London.