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Minnesota hunter convicted of manslaughter in deer stand dispute

A Breezy Point, Minn., man was convicted Friday of second-degree manslaughter in the death of a man he knocked from a tree stand during a hunting dispute in Clearwater County in 2010.

Kevin Thomas McCormick, 53, was found guilty in state district court in Bagley, Minn., after a five-day trial.

He is scheduled to be sentenced April 11 on the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

According to court documents, McCormick argued with Jerry Benedict, 64, over the placement of Benedict's tree stand, which McCormick believed was on his land in southern Clearwater County, near Itasca State Park and the White Earth Indian Reservation.

On Nov. 6, 2010, McCormick knocked Benedict from the stand, which was set up 12 feet above ground. Benedict was airlifted to a Fargo hospital the next day, suffering from broken vertebrae and abdominal bleeding.

McCormick was charged with assault in the case.

When Benedict died of his internal injuries Nov. 24, McCormick was charged with manslaughter.

The jury deliberated Friday for nearly five hours before finding McCormick guilty.