Stupid Criminal Tricks #2: Writer working on book about kindness shot while hitchhiking? Say it isn’t so!

Writer working on book about kindness shot while hitchhiking? Say it isn’t so!

It isn’t so.

Montanans were understandably upset by the report that a man hitchhiking the country to research a book on kindness was shot in our state. But boy, were we peeved when it turned out he shot himself as a publicity stunt. I’m sure others shared my gratification at how quickly law enforcement discovered the fraud and cleared the man falsely accused, although he was held on an unrelated charge of drunk driving.

The Missoulian reports that Valley County sheriff’s deputies didn’t find a gun or ammo in the pickup of the man accused–who was driving a pickup that matched the one described–and found his denial credible. They used his GPS to trace his route–which put him miles away from the shooting at the time the alleged victim claimed it occurred. So they went back to the scene and found a small pistol in a nearby field. They traced the gun to West Virginia, where the alleged victim had bought it days earlier.

According to an August 15 report in the Glasgow Courier, the alleged victim has now been charged with one count of felony tampering with evidence and two misdemeanor counts of making a false report and obstructing a peace officer. He pleaded not guilty. He was released on $10,000 bond and allowed to leave the state to live with a relative near a VA hospital where he can be treated. In typical western graciousness, the sheriff expressed hope that he get evaluation for mental problems

You can’t make some of this stuff up.

Update: Lee Newspapers report that Ray Dolin is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, October 29, and is expected to plead guilty.