09/03/2013 09:54 am ET

Alleged Pot Grower Killed By Own Booby Trap: Cops


A rural New York man was killed Saturday after being nearly decapitated by a booby trap he set up to protect the marijuana plants he was illegally growing, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.

The accident, which claimed the life of 50-year-old Daniel Ricketts, occurred in Berne, a small town located about 120 miles southeast of Syracuse.

According to Apple, Ricketts was riding his 1998 Honda Foreman ATV in the backyard of his Saw Mill Road property at about 2:30 p.m., when he drove the vehicle under a thin wire, similar to the type used in pianos. The nearly invisible wire caught Ricketts by the throat and yanked him off the vehicle.

Ricketts was almost decapitated by the accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Albany County Coroner Paul Marra.

Apple said investigators believe Ricketts had rigged the wire up to protect four large marijuana plants that were found nearby.

Investigators also found barbed wire strung up near the plants and a leg-hold trap, similar to those used by coyote trappers, police said.

Apple said alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the accident. The investigation is ongoing.



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