Friend indicted in shooting death of Denton Guyer football player

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Audio: Listen to the 911 call

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A friend of the Denton Guyer football player who was fatally shot in August in rural Montague County was indicted Monday in the death of the popular running back.

Montague County grand jurors returned a manslaughter indictment against Michael Bryce Underwood, 17, of Sanger in the death of 18-year-old Nate Maki.

Underwood was not in custody late Monday afternoon.

In a 911 call at 11:10 p.m. Aug. 31, Underwood told a Montague emergency dispatcher that he had shot his friend, according to a recording of the call that authorities released Monday.

“I just accidentally shot my best friend,” Underwood said, crying. “We’re at my grandpa’s ranch in Bowie. We were hunting coyotes. I accidentally shot him with a .22 in the head.”

It took several minutes for Underwood to give the dispatcher directions to the scene.

“I’m so scared,” Underwood said. “Why am I so dumb? Please hurry up.”

According to the Texas penal code, manslaughter, a second-degree felony, is recklessly causing the death of another person. The maximum sentence upon conviction is 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“This is a tragedy for all involved,” District Attorney Paige Williams said in an email Monday. “The lesson for everyone is simple: Introducing alcohol into any situation can affect not only your life, but the lives of your friends and family. Nathan’s friends need to remember him before they think of consuming alcohol.”

Williams is the criminal district attorney for Montague, Archer and Clay counties. Prosecutors said a trial could be scheduled in fall 2014.

The 911 call

Authorities have said that Maki and Underwood were in a pasture with two 18-year-old women.

The two young women fled, but they were later located.

The field is off Miller Road near Bowie, about 55 miles northwest of Denton.

In his 911 call, Underwood told the dispatcher that the safety was off on the rifle.

Maki was in the driver’s side of the vehicle, he said.

“I was calling him,” a crying Understood told the dispatcher. “I pulled the gun to the left.”

That’s when the rifle went off, Underwood said. He can be heard pleading to Maki, “Come on, buddy!”

Over and over again, Underwood said, “Oh my God!” to the dispatcher.

“My mom is going to kill me,” he blurted out to the dispatcher. “Will you call my parents?”

Once emergency crews found them, Maki was taken to Bowie Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The case was investigated by the Sheriff’s Department, the Montague County district attorney’s office and Texas Rangers.

Underwood was arrested at the scene on suspicion of consumption of alcohol by a minor, and later released on bail.

A few days before his death, Maki, a senior, had missed Guyer’s season opener against Cedar Hill because of an injury. Last season, his first as a full-time varsity player, Maki played a big role in Guyer’s rushing attack as a key lead blocker, rushing for 155 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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