May 11, 2005 in Idaho

Dare to shoot gun sparks man’s death

Associated Press

OROFINO, Idaho – An Idaho man accused of heeding a buddy’s request to shoot him while he wore what the pair thought was a bulletproof vest is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in 2nd District Court.

Alexander Joseph (A.J.) Swandic, 20, of Orofino, died of a gun shot wound to the heart after he was shot by a 9 mm handgun.

David John Hueth, 30, of Kamiah, is charged with pulling the trigger. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Clearwater County Prosecutor Clayne Tyler told a jury on Monday, the first day of what’s expected to be a weeklong trial, that the two friends were high on methamphetamine and marijuana when the incident took place Dec. 13.

Tyler said the evidence would underscore “incomprehensible” and “idiotic” behavior in which Swandic apparently donned a flak jacket and then asked to be shot.

“A.J. seemed like he wanted to get shot pretty bad,” said David McIntosh, a logger and acquaintance of the two men who was called as a witness, to jurors.

“I said, ‘If you want to shoot something, put it (the vest) on a dog, and if you don’t like the dog, shoot it.”’

The shooting took place in a rural area about 25 miles southeast of Orofino.

The vest, which jurors were allowed to see, turned out to be a fragmentation vest designed to stop shrapnel, but not bullets, according to authorities.

Swandic allegedly asked more than one person to shoot him, Tyler said.

“He (Hueth) was the only one to pull the trigger,” the prosecutor said.

Initially, Hueth claimed that Swandic had shot himself – before eventually admitting to the killing, authorities said.

According to law enforcement agents who investigated the incident, Swandic took the shot standing, then began to jump around, fell to his knees and lay on the ground.

Hueth and another man put the victim in the back of a pickup truck, according to court records, and stopped at a nearby house to call for emergency assistance.

Swandic was taken by ambulance to Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino where he was pronounced dead.

Both Hueth and Swandic tested positive for methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant, and marijuana, police said.

Swandic had also been drinking before he was shot.

Hueth told authorities he’d smoked one to two grams of meth on the day of the shooting, Tyler said.

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