“A trial detailing the shocking recklessness of two young men playing with loaded guns ended with the jury convicting Jarrett Marshall of felony involuntary manslaughter in the June 26, 2015, death of 21-year-old Trenton Lamar Hill,” ledger-enquirer.com reports. Shocking recklessness? Yeah, that about covers it . . .
Hill died the day after his 21st birthday. He fatally was wounded outside his Andrea Drive home, where he, Marshall and mutual friend Jordan Day had been working on Hill’s 1999 Trans Am, before Hill and Marshall began toying with loaded shotguns.
A lot of shotguns . . .
Witnesses said Hill was a gun collector who that day had set out eight or nine shotguns and rifles, all of them loaded. Day, 23, testified that Hill and Marshall picked up shotguns and pointed them at each other as they taunted one another.
Day said Hill told Marshall, “I’m not worried about what you have. You have birdshot. I have buckshot.”
Marshall was holding a Mossberg 12-gauge pump shotgun with a pistol grip. He pumped it once, ejecting a shell as the motion loaded another into the firing chamber.
He testified Wednesday that he did not know the gun had reloaded and did not mean to pull the trigger when it went off, peppering Hill’s neck with pellets an eighth of inch in diameter. That ammunition, commonly called No. 8 shot, typically is used for bird hunting.
A medical examiner said the blast punctured Hill’s carotid arteries, jugular veins and trachea, and fractured his jaw, so he bled to death while struggling to breathe.
It’s hard to believe that a man who owns “eight or nine” shotguns doesn’t know that pumping a round out of the chamber automatically feeds another in (if there’s one in the tube). But it’s even harder to believe that Mr. Marshall and his buds were engaging in good-natured firearms horseplay.
Given the challenge, I reckon things got serious before the fatal pellets were delivered.
Neither Day nor Marshall initially told police the truth, instead claiming Hill had shot himself. Day later decided to correct his account after learning Hill had not survived, and he then informed Marshall that he was going to contact investigators.
Though Marshall claimed the shooting was an accident, Day said he believed Marshall meant to pull the trigger: “Guns don’t accidentally go off,” he testified.
Does it matter? Pointing a gun at someone is a recipe for disaster, a clear and present danger that violates The Mother of All [Four] Gun Safety Rules. Gun owners who do so deserve what they get if the violation leads to an innocent person’s injury or death. Don’t be that guy.