Illinois woman facing upgraded felony charge in shooting

A shooting on April 30 may lead to one woman facing upgraded charges in the death of her husband. The Illinois woman currently faces a felony charge for recklessly discharging a firearm, as well as weapon possession by a felon. Prosecutors are pushing to upgrade the first charge to involuntary manslaughter in the wake of the victim's death.

The accused, a 29-year-old Illinois resident, was arrested following an altercation with her husband in their home, during which she allegedly shot him in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. The man was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy has confirmed the cause of death was the gunshot wound to the man's head, though toxicology reports are still pending.

The accused was charged with illegally obtaining the weapon, as a previous felony charge from 2005 should have prohibited her from purchasing a gun. Prosecutors anticipate that in light of her history, the reckless discharge charge will be upgraded to involuntary manslaughter. Typically a Class-3 felony, involuntary manslaughter is upgraded to a Class-2 felony when the victim is a household or family member. The woman remains in police custody; her preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 6.

Should prosecutors succeed in upgrading the felony charge, the burden of proof will still be on the state to prove the elements of the crime. If there is any reasonable doubt, a jury is obligated to vote for an acquittal. A full understanding of the elements of the crime and the defendant's rights under our state laws may be of assistance in developing an effective defense against these charges.

Source: Galesburg.com, "Prosecutor intends to upgrade charge in shooting," Ariel Cheung, May 3, 2013

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