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Mail Tribune 100

June 29, 1917


Lane Wyland, who shot and killed David Elmer Cottrell last Wednesday in the Meadows district, was completely exonerated by the coroner's jury at the inquest conducted into Mr. Cottrell's death Friday forenoon. The jury held that Wyland "thought that he was shooting at a deer and thus unintentionally and by accident caused the death of Cottrell."

The testimony showed that Cottrell, who had just killed a deer, was bending over its body, skinning the hide off, when Wyland, further up a steep mountain side saw Cottrell's movements in the brush, and mistaking him for a deer, fired the fatal shot.

Coroner John Perl conducted the inquest, and District Attorney Roberts also took a prominent part in asking questions. The jury was composed of F. E. Merrick, M. A. Rader, R. W. Miller, H. G. Shearer and D. W. Diskel. Their decision was reached in a few minutes after the testimony was taken.

The only witnesses examined were Lane Wyland, Ivan Hockersmith, a brother-in-law of Cottrell, and Dr. W. L. Cameron, who examined the body as coroner physician.

Mr. Wyland, who is grief stricken over his part in the tragic affair, broke down several times while he was testifying. He and Cottrell had been like two brothers for many years, had never had a quarrel nor had ever unkind words passed between the two. They were neighbors in the Meadows district, were former partners in the cattle business and each ran about seventy-five head of cattle on the range where Cottrell was accidentally killed. Hockersmith also has a neighboring ranch and runs about sixty head of cattle on the range.

It was the custom of the three to ride the range together in caring for their cattle, and they had started out early Wednesday morning to salt the cattle, leaving their horses at a cabin about six miles northwest of Cottrell's ranch.