Two plead guilty in hunter death

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Two individuals charged in the December 2012 death of a Broadway hunter have pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and involuntary manslaughter, respectively, according to court documents furnished Thursday by the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

George Wilburn Raines, 53, of the 600 block of Kentyrewood Farm Road, Sanford, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, and Steven Cody Burnette, 24, of the 100 block of Gravel Lane, Sanford, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 26-year-old Robert Devitto.

Devitto, of Strike Eagle Drive in Broadway, succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained during a duck hunting trip on Dec. 18, 2012. When Devitto, who was an active member of the U.S. Army, didn't return home from duck hunting, his wife grew concerned. He was found by his friends.

Burnette and his uncle, Raines, were arrested soon after, and Burnette was charged with second-degree murder while Raines was charged with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.

"He and these two were hunting that day," said Lee Sheriff's Office Capt. Jeff Johnson. "Mr. Burnette is actually the shooter; he thought he was shooting a deer," he said.

Both men received suspended sentences and have been placed under 36 months of supervised probation, the court document shows, and Burnette was ordered into custody for 120 days, minus credit for 28 days already served.

Declining to say whether he was satisfied with the outcome of the case, Capt. Johnson said, "It's not for me to judge that. It's just a very unfortunate case."