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Preliminary hearing for stepfather charged in fatal Clay Township hunting accident

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Posted at 7:04 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 07:04:54-04

CLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — The stepfather charged in the fatal shooting of his 11-year-old stepson is due back in court Wednesday.

John Varndell Jr.'s preliminary hearing is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. at the Marine City District Court.

On Sept. 13, the 11-year-old boy was shot and killed after a hunting accident in Clay Township in the area of Benoit Road and Marsh around 8 p.m., according to Clay Township Police.

The land where the incident happened is owned by the boy's family. However, they live out of the area. According to court documents, Varndell Jr. is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Police Chief Michael Koach said a group of people were looking for a deer they had shot earlier in the day when the child was hit by gunfire. Chief Koach told 7 Action News it was Varndell Jr., child's stepfather, who pulled the trigger.

The boy was taken to McLaren Macomb Hospital and then transferred to Children's Hospital in Detroit, where he died from the gunshot wound. It is still unclear where on the body he was shot.

Varndell Jr. was charged with involuntary manslaughter in his stepson's death. Bond was set at $500,000 cash/surety.