An Illinois man who claims to have accidentally shot a friend in the chest is being held in police custody ahead of a possible Sept.16 trial date, according to police. The Galesburg resident has entered a plea of not guilty against the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter as well as reckless conduct. At last report, he was being held in lieu of posting bail that was set at $100,000 bond.
Police reports indicate the 20-year-old man was displaying his gun collection to a group of unspecified people at his home in March when a Russian rifle accidentally discharged. The victim, an 18-year-old man, died as a result of a gunshot wound. The man was taken into police custody after the tragedy.
The accused man is represented by a public defender, and a trial by jury was requested on his behalf. A pretrial conference will take place on Sept. 3 ahead of the proposed court date set for the week of September 16. The charges will be heard in Knox County Circuit Court.
The plea of not guilty will likely result in a trial by a jury of his peers. The burden will lie with the prosecution to prove the accused man guilty by a measure of proof characterized as beyond a reasonable doubt. Considering the seriousness of the felony charge brought against him and the apparent unintentional nature of the incident, it may be appropriate to explore the possibility of a plea agreement with prosecutors as a means of limiting the risk of more severe consequences should a jury return a verdict of guilty. Nevertheless, the man retains the right to challenge the evidence and confront witnesses that offer testimony against him in an Illinois courtroom.
Source: wgil.com, “Not Guilty Plea In Alleged Accidental Shooting,” April 11, 2013