The saddest irony from the shoting last May that left 75-year-old Paul Belcher dead is that his apparent accidental death came at the hands of a Floyd County official who once taught firearms safety to area residents.

A grand jury indicted Animal Control Officer Garland D "Bucky" Nester last week on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless handling of a firearm after a five-month investigation by Virginia State Police into how and why Nester fired his weapon at a recalcitrant cow. One of the bullets struck 75-year-old Belcher, who was coming to help Nester with the cow that has wandered off the animal control officer’s farm.

Nester once served as a hunting safety training officer for the county, teaching others how to safely handle firearms.

I knew about the indictments when they came down last week but had to hold off writing the story for The Floyd Press until Nester could be arrested by State Troopers. My story about the indictments is in today’s edition.

Grand juries in Floyd County generaly meet once every three months but the day-long "special session" last week focused mostly on Nester and the findings of State Police investigators.

Nester is scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge Ray W. Grubbs on Nov. 18. Courthouse sources also tell me Belcher’s family has hired Montgomery County attorney Kendall Clay for civil action against Nester.