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Superior deer hunter faces charge in shooting of house

A Superior man faces a misdemeanor count of negligent handling of a weapon for shooting a house while deer hunting last month.

However, prosecutors on Wednesday dropped a more serious felony charge against 50-year-old Robert D. Janowicz of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

District Attorney Dan Blank said records of the 1983 felony burglary conviction, which the firearm possession charge hinges on, didn't clearly identify Janowicz. In one record, for instance, there was no birth date listed. In another, the middle initial is used instead of the full middle name. Due to the discrepancies, he said, the state chose to drop the charge.

That does not preclude the District Attorney's Office from reinstating the charge in the future, once the files have been more closely examined, Blank said.

According to the criminal complaint on last month's shooting incident:

Superior police officers responded to South Superior on a report of gunshots being fired. They found that a house along the 6300 block of Oakes Avenue had been shot. A bullet drilled through the second-story wall of the home, lodging in an interior stairwell wall. If a person had been on the stairs at the time, officers noted, they would have been shot.

A neighbor told police he heard three or four gunshots and heard two bullets fly over his head that afternoon. Officers checked the area to the southwest where the bullets would have come from and found Janowicz in blaze orange near his truck on Cemetery Road. He was not carrying a gun.

After changing his story a number of times, Janowicz told officers that he had taken four shots at a deer about the time the gunshots were reported. He said he moved his position for the second two shots so they would go lower. He only saw the second two shots hit the ground. Janowicz told officers he left his gun in the woods and came to see what was happening. The gun was recovered from his blind northwest of the river.

Janowicz pled not guilty to the misdemeanor charge during his initial appearance Nov. 22. He remains free on a $1,000 signature bond. As a condition of his bond, he is not to possess any firearms.

A pretrial conference was set for February.