Absence of Intent
"There's nothing worse than shooting someone accidentally."

While 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.

"You ever think your life is over ... [because] you took somebody else's life by accident? ...It's terrible."
Forrest Leigh

Back to Killer Page

CONTACT INFO: peoplekillpeople@hotmail.com

Copyright 2000 People Kill People.com