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Republic man sentenced in 2016 shooting death of junior firefighter

| Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, 10:36 a.m.
George Matis, 22, of Republic.
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George Matis, 22, of Republic.

A former volunteer fire captain from Republic has been sentenced to six to 23 months in jail in the shooting death of a junior firefighter last year.

Twenty-two-year-old George Matis Jr. pleaded guilty in July to involuntary manslaughter in the November 2016 shooting death of 16-year-old Parker Hess at the Republic Volunteer Fire Company in Fayette County.

State police said the two and others had gathered to prepare for a holiday celebration. Matis was removing his 9 mm Glock 17 handgun from a holster when it discharged, striking Hess.

Fayette County President Judge John F. Wagner Jr. said he thought long and hard before imposing sentence Friday.

He said “Clearly, this was grossly negligent handling of a firearm.”

Defense attorney James Davis said his client was sincerely sorry and expressed condolences to Hess' family.

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