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Pethtel sentenced in Lemhi County manslaughter

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LEMHI COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) – A 29-year-old Bonneville County resident was sentenced to a 20-year prison sentence for the shooting death of another man in Lemhi County.

Attorney General Raúl Labrador announced the sentencing hearing of Tel William Pethtel took place on Feb. 2, 2024.

“I’m grateful for the teamwork of this successful prosecution,” Attorney General Labrador said. “I thank the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho State Police for their diligent investigation, as well as my Deputy Attorneys General Pendrey Trammell and Arielle Collins who led the prosecution.”

Evidence presented at trial showed in October 2021, officers were called to the Panther Creek area in Lemhi County where witnesses had found the deceased body of the victim. The law enforcement investigation led to Pethtel, who was staying at a cabin in the area and had been with his wife and the victim the night before. Pethtel was interviewed by the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office. Pethtel initially told law enforcement he had not seen the victim since the night before, and evidence presented at trial also showed that, after the victim’s death, Pethtel had messaged friends and family, including the victim, feigning concern for his well-being and claiming that the victim had run off.

Later, however, Pethtel admitted he was involved in the fight that led to the victim’s death. Though Pethtel claimed he acted in self-defense, he also admitted he had moved the victim’s body away from the scene of the shooting.

At trial, Pethtel was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, concealment of evidence, unlawful possession of a firearm and a sentencing enhancement for being a persistent violator of the law due to his prior felony convictions.

Under the terms of Judge Thompson’s sentence, Pethtel will have to serve 12 years of his 20-year sentence before he is eligible for parole. Judge Thompson ordered Pethtel to pay restitution in the amount of $2,924 for funeral expenses for the victim.

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