"There's nothing worse than shooting someone
27-year-old Tara Coakley sat in her Boulder, Colorado, apartment eating pizza
with her brother and his fiancee, Forrest Leigh sat on the other side of the wall
in the apartment next door watching a football game.
During half-time he decided to clean his Colt .45 semiautomatic handgun. The 62-year-old
firearms collector knew this territory well. He knew about safety. Later, while
being questioned, he even cited one of the safety rules, "Never point a gun
at anything you don't intend to destroy." He did not intend to destroy Tara
Coakley. Leigh believed the gun was empty right up until it fired. Through the
wall, through Coakley’s head, the bullet finally settling on the kitchen floor.
While Coakley lay dying in an emergency
room on that late October day in 1996, Leigh was questioned about his guns. "...Have
them confiscated... I went all the way from the pro-gun believing tonight to,
uh, I got no more use for the damn things." Through a plea bargain, Leigh
pleaded no contest to criminally negligent homicide. The sentence included 200
hours of community service and a fine of $9,195 to help pay the expenses incurred
by Tara Coakley's family.
ever think your life is over ... [because] you took somebody else's life by accident?
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