A former sheriff’s deputy from California will stand trial early next year in McClain County District Court for first degree manslaughter.

James S. Blackwood, 62, of Byars, pled not guilty to the felony at his formal arraignment on August 13.

He is accused of shooting Leroy Atkinson of Byars on June 2, 2019.

The case has been placed on the February 15 jury docket.

The shooting was investigated by the McClain County Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

According to the OSBI, Blackwood was target shooting when Atkinson drove his four-wheeler into the line of fire some distance from the target.

Atkinson was struck in the head and killed.

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