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50-year-old man pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter

A 50-year-old man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter last week in connection with the July 4 shooting death of an 11-year-old girl. The man, who was reportedly remorseful and in tears when surrendering to officers, pleaded guilty in exchange for a dropped charge of armed criminal action.

According to court reports, the girl was celebrating the holiday at her uncle's house in east Kansas City when a random bullet hit her in the neck shortly after 9 p.m. She was taken to a local hospital, where she died the next day.

As the 50-year-old entered his guilty plea, the man told the court he and three friends were shooting a pistol into a nearby lake that day. Police officers estimate the quartet fired several dozen shots, one of which struck the girl as she was dancing with a sparkler.

After the shooting, police allegedly found shell casings near a dock at the apartment complex where the man lived and worked. Police questioned the man because he was the only employee working in the area that night. Reportedly, forensic tests later showed the bullet that killed the girl came from his pistol.

At the hearing, the man told the judge he shot the gun, but he could not be certain he fired the shot that killed the girl. Prosecutors said they charged him because he owned the gun, which he kept in his car, and because he and his friends acted recklessly. The other men were not charged.

The judge set the man's sentencing for Feb. 3, 2012. He faces up to seven years in prison.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "KC man pleads guilty in fatal July 4 shooting of girl, 11," Mike Morris, Dec. 1, 2011

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