The lawyer for a man charged with killing a Pennsylvania game warden asked the public to reserve judgment in the case, saying the defendant deserves the presumption of innocence.

Kristin L. Rice, an assistant public defender in Adams County, released a statement Wednesday that expressed sorrow for the death of Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove but said that her client, Christopher Lynn Johnson, has a right to a fair trial.

"It is not helpful to anyone involved in this process to spew hatred on newspaper forums or to create a climate in this community in which a fair trial is compromised," Rice wrote. She said Johnson is "beloved by his parents, his sisters, his fiancee and his child" and that "there is so much yet to learn about the events of Nov. 11."

Grove was investigating whether someone was illegally shooting deer at night when he pulled over a truck in a rural area outside Gettysburg and was shot to death, authorities said. Johnson was partially handcuffed when he shot Grove four times with a .45-caliber handgun, police said.

Johnson was arrested the next day at a hunting camp. Police said he confessed, telling investigators he was a felon in possession of a firearm and did not want to return to prison.

Grove's funeral is scheduled for Sunday in Waynesboro.