A Wales man who in 2012 shot and killed a hunter while both men were tracking the same deer will spend the next seven years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and unrelated charges of child rape.

Christopher Scott Austin, 43, was sentenced May 22 in Androscoggin County Superior Court to serve an initial seven years of a 15-year prison term.

Austin, who will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, will spend nine years on probation when he is released from prison.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy imposed the sentence after Austin pleaded guilty to three counts of gross sexual assault and one count of manslaughter. The 15-year prison sentence was for the sexual assault charges. He was sentenced to a concurrent 2 1/2-year prison sentence for manslaughter.

Two of the three assault charges and the manslaughter charge are class A crimes, each carrying a potential 30-year prison sentence. One of the assault charges is a class B, which carries a potential 10-year sentence.

The sexual assaults were against a single victim who was between the ages of 8 and 15 at the time of the offenses, according to the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the assaults and arrested Austin in December. Austin was free on $5,000 bail at the time of his arrest after an Androscoggin County grand jury in January 2013 indicted him on a manslaughter charge.


The victim of the sexual assault charges, who choked with emotion while giving a statement at Austin’s sentencing, said her attacker is a sick man who needs help, according to the Sun Journal newspaper in Lewiston.

Authorities said Austin shot and killed 49-year-old Gerard Parent around 4:20 p.m. Nov. 20, 2012. The shooting occurred at twilight, 13 minutes before the state-required end of the hunting day.

The Maine Warden Service said Austin and Parent were tracking the same deer in a sliver of woods between East Road and Route 126 in Wales. Both apparently fired at that deer.

Parent died of a gunshot wound to the upper chest, the state Medical Examiner’s Office found.

Austin was hunting with a .308-caliber rifle within 100 yards of a building or residential dwelling, according to the indictment.

Parent lived at 392 East Road at the road’s southern end near the intersection with Route 126, and wardens say the shooting occurred near his property. The land slopes steeply down from the road, and the wooded area where he was shot is in a valley.


Lt. Dan Scott, of the Maine Warden Service, said Parent was standing near his home and wearing a blaze orange vest over a white T-shirt at the time of the shooting, which Scott said was a “textbook case of failing to make proper target identification.”

Kennedy ordered Austin to pay $5,000 in restitution to Parent’s family. His widow, Becky Ann Brown, in 2013 filed a wrongful-death complaint against Austin. A clerk at Androscoggin County Superior Court said Wednesday that the lawsuit was set aside until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings and now is expected to resume. Court documents indicate Parent also is survived by two adult daughters.

Brown’s attorney, Stephen Wade, said in 2013 that typically a person’s homeowner’s insurance would cover damages, but he said Austin’s lawyer told him Austin’s home was uninsured.

Brown, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, said in testimony read on her behalf at Austin’s sentencing that she is unable to hold a job since her husband’s death and no longer enjoys life as she once did.

“I’m not the person I used to be,” Brown said in her written testimony. “I’m not the person I want to be.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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