Pelham, Massachusetts Police Chief Pleads Not Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter in 8-Year-Old’s Uzi Death

Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury has pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the Christopher Bizilj. The boy, 8, died after he accidentally shot himself with an Uzi at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo in Westfield, Massachusetts. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of furnishing a machine gun to a person under 18.

Fleury is the owner of OPS Firearms & Training, which promoted the October gun show. If convicted for involuntary manslaughter, the police chief could spend up to 20 years in state prison and up to 10 years for the other charges.

On October 26, Christopher lost control of a 9mm micro submachine gun when it recoiled on him. His father was nearby, getting ready to take his son’s picture when the fatal accident happened. The Micro Uzi’s rate of fire is 1,700 rounds/minute.

According to District Attorney William Bennett, Fleury made a mistake when he told the two men who brought the gun to the expo that Massachusetts law allowed for children under 18 to use the submachine weapon. Last week, Domenico Spano and Carl Giuffre pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges.

The Westfield Sportsman’s Club, where the gun show took place, has also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. The club’s attorney says that no one from the club or who was acting for the club provided the Uzi involved in Christopher’s shooting death. At least three other children reportedly fired the gun at the expo.

Involuntary Manslaughter
An involuntary manslaughter charge involves a crime where the defendant did not mean to cause the victim’s death.

Mass. police chief pleads not guilty in Uzi death, AP, December 23, 2008
2 Plead Not Guilty to Manslaughter in Boy’s Uzi Death, Fox, December 15, 2008

Related Web Resources:

A Brief Overview of Massachusetts Homicide Law,
Massachusetts “Gun Fair” Where Child Was Killed With Machine Gun May Have Violated Gun Law, Brady Campaign
You have the right the best defense. Contact our Boston involuntary manslaughter law firm to discuss your criminal case.

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