Not guilty plea in Vancouver in ‘mercy killing’

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A Vancouver man who says he shot his roommate in the head to put him out of his misery after an accidental shooting pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court to a first-degree murder charge.

The Columbian reports (http://is.gd/Iw7Oay ) trial for 19-year-old Matthew E. Starr is set for Aug. 13.

Starr told authorities he had been target shooting with Joshua Schenk on Feb. 29 near Vancouver Lake when he stumbled and accidentally fired into Schenk’s head. Starr said he felt Schenk was suffering so he put another bullet into his head “like you would a deer” to put him out of his misery.

Prosecutors say the killing was premeditated and that Starr took $300 from Schenk’s wallet.

The body of the 25-year-old was found March 2.