A man who accidentally shot to death the host of a Super Bowl party in Philadelphia has been sentenced to nine to 23 months in prison.
Fifty-year-old Ronald Parncutt had pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other charges in June.
Prosecutors say Parncutt fatally shot his friend and neighbor Christopher Donaghy during the party Feb. 1. Parncutt had picked up a handgun owned by an off-duty police officer at the party and fired, not realizing the gun was real.
Parncutt profusely apologized to Donaghy's family in court on Wednesday.
The Plymouth Township police officer who owned the gun is awaiting trial on charges of recklessly endangering another person.
It's difficult to imagine the circumstances in which a police officer would permit access to his weapon like that. It's difficult to imagine how a 50-year-old man could pick it up, thinking it's a fake weapon, aim it at someone and pull the trigger. Wouldn't the weight of the gun be enough to indicate it's not a toy?
When I was about 20 years old, I met a high-school buddy who had joined the police department. He was in uniform, wearing a sidearm, a revolver. I asked if I could see it. He immediately drew the gun, clicked open the cylinder and dropped the bullets into his hand, closed the cylinder with a flick of the wrist and handed it over to me. I was always impressed with that.
Isn't it common sense for a police officer, or any gun owner for that matter, to take precautions like that? Do you think if Mr. Parncutt is going to do about a year for killing the guy, the police officer will be sentenced to even less? It seems clear to me that the stupidity of the man how pulled the trigger outweighs the stupidity of the gun owner. What do you think?
For crimes like unintentional homicide and reckless endangerment, in other words, for crimes of stupidity, are light sentences the best way to go? What's your opinion?
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