Prosecutors asked for prison time for the owner of a tree cutting company after he was found guilty of negligent homicide in connection with a worker fatality. But the judge disagreed and sentenced him to a suspended jail term.
Now, Maurice Buzzell, owner of Buzzell Tree Service in East Kingston, NH, has been ordered to receive arborist training, perform 100 hours of community service and make 10 presentations to students about workplace safety.
He’s to appear in front of the judge again in a year to show that he’s completed the terms of his suspended sentence.
Earlier this year, a jury found Buzzell guilty of the homicide charge and a reckless conduct charge in the death of 22-year-old Jon Paul LaVigueur.
Prosecutors recommended a 1- to 3-year prison term. The maximum he could have received was 7 years in jail.
But Judge Diane Nicolosi said, “Mr. Buzzell is not an uncaring man. I think he is grieving for this man (LaVigueur).”
In August 2007, LaVigueur was struck in the head and torso by parts of an 80-foot pine tree. He was part of a four-person team pulling down the tree. As it started to fall, LaVigueur ran in the same direction it fell.
Former employees testified they were taught by Buzzell not to move out of the way until a tree started to fall.
What do you think of the court’s sentence? Let us know in the Comments Box below.You can also take our Quick Poll on this topic on our home page.