PROVO — A former Utah County man, sentenced in January for shooting his estranged wife's boyfriend in the chest with a black powder pistol, may be required to pay almost $40,000 in restitution to the victim.

John Veater, who is currently serving up to 15 years in prison for attempted murder, appeared in 4th District Court on a hearing for restitution.

Veater pleaded guilty last October to the second-degree felony count as part of a plea bargain agreement for the June 2002 incident. Authorities say Veater was distraught over his wife leaving him for another man and that he used a key to enter his wife's Provo apartment armed with two black powder pistols. Police say Veater's initial plan was to challenge the boyfriend to a lover's duel. When Robert Shuffler refused, police say Veater shot him in the chest.

During a sentencing hearing in January, prosecutors said the bullet from the pistol missed Shuffler's heart by a fraction of an inch, causing bruising. "But for an inch, a half an inch, he would be dead," said Deputy Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman. Shuffler said he had incurred substantial medical bills stemming from the shooting, but the exact amount had not been disclosed until Thursday.

Judge Fred Howard previously ordered Shuffler to submit to the court a list of medical expenses to determine victim restitution. Utah County public defense attorney Tom Means said Shuffler is claiming more than $39,600 in restitution. "It's primarily medical treatment. About five-thousand is for lost wages," Means said.

Means called the amount excessive and asked for an evidentiary hearing.

Deputy Utah County Attorney Curtis Larson said such a hearing would require subpoenaing Shuffler to testify.

Howard continued the matter until July 10, telling both sides to settle on an exact amount before requesting an evidentiary hearing.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com