Gun Fair Organizer Acquitted in Boy’s Uzi Death
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 14, 2011
Filed at 3:20 p.m. EST
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts jury acquitted a gun fair organizer of manslaughter in the 2008 death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi submachine gun.
A Hampden Superior Court jury found former Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury not guilty on Friday of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Christopher Bizilj (buh-SEEL’) of Ashford, Conn. The charge carried up to 20 years on prison.
Fleury was also cleared of three charges of furnishing machine guns to minors.
Prosecutor William Bennett told the jury that Fleury was criminally reckless in running the event because he allowed children to illegally shoot machine guns under the supervision of a firing range officer who was 15 at the time and didn’t have a firearms license or certification.
Fleury’s lawyer, Rosemary Curran Scapicchio, denied the allegations and blamed the boy’s father, emergency room Dr. Charles Bizilj, for allowing Christopher and his then-11-year-old brother Colin to shoot such a dangerous weapon. Scapicchio noted that Charles Bizilj signed a waiver at the expo acknowledging the risks, including death, and absolving anyone of liability if something bad happened.
I’m wondering what reasoning the jury used? How a chief of police organized such an event with so little eye to safety? How the father will live the rest of his life? How adults are rushing to blame each other? Whether the public will consider the adults in this situation to be as innocent as they regard themselves?