The emotionally racked trial of a former Pelham, Ma., police chief charged in connection with the accidental shooting death of an 8-year-old boy at a gun fair came to an end with a jury acquitting Edward Fleury, who cried at the verdict, reports the Boston Globe. Fleury, 53, was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of furnishing a machine gun to a minor. Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Ct., lost control of an Uzi submachine gun and shot himself in the head in front of shocked onlookers that included his father and brother.
The jurors had viewed chilling video footage of the youth's death, which occurred in October 2008, before they rendered their verdict. Fleury said he regretted holding the machine gun shoot and will never do it again. “I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to the Bizilj family,'' Fleury said. “It was always meant to be an educational event for people, and it's unfortunate this terrible accident happened.'' Prosecutors argued that Fleury was criminally reckless because he allowed children to illegally shoot machine guns under the supervision of a firing range officer who was 15 at the time and who lacked proper licensing and training. The defense argued that the boy's father signed a waiver acknowledging the risks involved in letting his son shoot, including death, and that the event had occurred for several years without any problems. Christopher Bizilj died when the Uzi submachine gun he fired suddenly tilted upward and then backward in his small hands and a bullet pierced his head. The fair was organized by a company Fleury owned.