published Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

LaFayette, Ga., 'girlfriend hunter' goes back to jail

THE CHARGES AT A GLANCE

Webb's new charges from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources:

• Misuse of a firearm while hunting

• Hunting under the influence of drugs

• Hunting without a license

• Hunting without a "Big Game" license

• Hunting with illegal ammunition

• Discharging a firearm while under the influence

• Hunting without a fluorescent orange vest

Source: Walker County Jail booking report

  • photo
    Audrey Mayo keeps a record of when she has taken each of her medications as she lays on the couch Friday at her home in LaFayette, Ga. Mayo was shot in the leg by her boyfriend, Matthew Tyler Webb, on Nov. 21, after Webb mistook her for a deer while hunting in the woods near his house.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

On the day he accidentally shot his significant other, investigators say, Matthew Tyler Webb smoked methamphetamine.

Webb, 23, of LaFayette, Ga., sat on the roof with Audrey Mayo on the evening of Nov. 21 when he thought he saw deer across the street. Grabbing a rifle, he decided to hunt. Mayo followed Webb to the other side of Hillsdale Road.

But Webb believed the movement and noise behind him was an animal, and he fired a bullet through Mayo's right leg. She survived, though her boyfriend's shot damaged some of her nerves and veins.

The night of the shooting, as a helicopter flew Mayo to Erlanger hospital for surgery, LaFayette police arrested Webb on a charge of firing a gun within 150 feet of a public road. At the time, Capt. Stacey Meeks said more charges would follow.

On Monday, they did. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which investigates hunting incidents, charged Webb with seven crimes, including hunting without a license, hunting with illegal ammunition and discharging a firearm under the influence.

He was arrested and taken to jail.

DNR Cpl. Will Smith, who has been examining the case since the night of the shooting, said his department didn't file charges against Webb for two months because such an investigation demands time -- time to interview the victim and shooter, time to reconstruct the scene, time to get the results of crime lab reports.

Smith is still awaiting a final blood test report, but he suspects it will show methamphetamine in Webb's system. He admitted using the drug before shooting Mayo, Smith said.

Investigators believe this is the only reason why Webb fired his gun. If he were sober, Smith said, Webb would have been more patient before snapping the trigger.

"He failed to identify his target," Smith said. "It's one of the first of the 10 Commandments of firearm safety."

Smith also said Webb used ammunition that does not expand after it is fired, which is illegal when hunting in Georgia. You have to use a bullet that mushrooms upon impact.

In this case, Smith said, the type of bullet probably did not matter. From 50 feet away, a shot to the leg probably would not have killed Mayo. But if a hunter shoots a deer with a bullet that does not expand, the deer is less likely to die. Then, the hunter may leave the deer to suffer.

"Wounding an animal is what we consider unethical hunting," Smith said. "You have a duty as a hunter to get a quick, clean kill."

The Nov. 21 shooting brought Mayo and Webb international media attention after Mayo said she and Webb were not officially a couple until he shot her. "Saturday Night Live" writers featured the story on the Dec. 14 segment of "Weekend Update."

"In Georgia," cast member Cecily Strong said, "anything that's not in the chest or face is just flirting."

It is unclear whether Mayo and Webb are still dating. She did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon, and he remained in jail in lieu of a $15,000 bond.

Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com.

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.