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Teacher Charged With Killing 11-Year-Old Boy During Turkey Hunt, Lawyer Calls It 'Horrible Accident'

Marine veteran Joshua Stewart Burks has been charged with reckless manslaughter in the death of Troy Ellis

By Gina Tron

An Alabama middle school teacher and military veteran has been charged in connection to a hunting incident that took the life of an 11-year-old boy.

Troy Ellis, 11, and his father were members of a small hunting party that went into the woods on Friday to hunt turkey, The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office stated in a Tuesday press releaseDuring the hunt, Joshua Stewart Burks, 35, of Mobile, “shot and killed” the Trussville boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The shooting also injured Ellis’ father, local football coach Obed Ellis, who was treated at the scene and survived, according to the press release.

Obed Ellis was a guide for the hunt, which was organized for wounded veterans, AL.com reports. Burks is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and amputee. He teaches at a middle school in Mobile County. 

“After Jefferson County Detectives reviewed the evidence in the case with the District Attorney’s Office, it was determined that an arrest warrant was justified against Burks for Reckless Manslaughter,” the sheriff’s department said.

Burks has since turned himself in and he has been charged with reckless manslaughter. He is being held on a bond of $15,000.

Joshua Burks Pd

His attorney Jonathan C. McCardle told AL.com that Burks didn't intentionally kill anyone.

"Mr. Burks in no manner intended for this horrible accident to occur and feels extreme sorry and hurt for the Ellis family," he said. "While I feel criminal charges should not have been brought forth here, we look forward to working with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office in bringing a resolution for all involved in this horrible accident."

Troy, a fifth grader at Cahaba Elementary School, was laid to rest on Wednesday.

“With a smile that would light up a room, Troy was the big brother who loved hunting, fishing, playing baseball, & football,” his obituary states. “Troy loved enjoying all of God’s great outdoors.”

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