A man in Vermont was accused of beating his mother with a rifle on Saturday after she allegedly stole deer meat from him, a report said.
According to the Rutland Herald, Zachary C. Merriam, 21, allegedly chased his mother around her home and hit her with his 30-30 rifle, leaving bruises on her back, because he thought she’d taken a chunk of meat from a deer he’d hunted.
Police said the woman told them that her son didn’t try to shoot her at any point but she didn’t know if the weapon was loaded and worried it would accidentally fire, the report said.
Bruises reportedly found on the woman’s back appeared to be the result of the alleged incident, police said, and were photographed by police as evidence.
Merriam denied hitting his mother but admitted the pair had been fighting after she reportedly stole the meat, the Rutland Herald reported. Officers said he seemed “very emotional and irritated by our presence.”
The suspect was taken into custody by police and his bail was set at $1,000, a press release from the Vermont State Police said. He was charged with 1st degree aggravated domestic assault.
On Monday, Merriam pleaded not guilty to the charges, the Herald said. He was reportedly released from jail and was ordered to not go anywhere near his mother.