Exclusive: Jailhouse Interview With Edward Taibi, Hunter Who Accidentally Shot Little Girl

Makes No Excuses For What Happened, But Wonders Why He's Still In Jail

WOODBURNE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A single shot from Edward Taibi’s rifle changed everything in the winter woods upstate near Swan Lake. He shot and killed a little girl four years ago in a hunting accident.

But now, for the first time, he is talking about that horrific day, in an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Lou Young.

“It was an accident, Mr. Young. I didn’t come up here with the intent to hurt anyone,” he said.

The deer hunter, behind bars for firing the bullet that killed little Charly Skala, broke his silence about how it happened and the overwhelming horror he felt as the dying toddler’s family confronted him.

“When he said I hit his niece in the neck, that was when I thought I was going take that gun and end my own life. I had one more bullet in that gun. My friend saw what was happening.  He ran and grabbed the gun from my hand,” he said.

“Eddie looked suicidal. I removed the weapon from his hand and unloaded the round to make sure it was secure and Eddie was on his knees begging for forgiveness. It was terrible,” said Pete Maltese, Taibi’s hunting companion.

The State of New York said it was an unforgivable mistake, that Taibi, hunting with a high-powered rifle from an elevated deer stand, lost track of his surroundings and accidentally shot the child inside her grandparents’ trailer 500 yards away.

After the first shot, Taibi said he left the deer stand to take a second shot.  George Conklin was in the trailer when his granddaughter was mortally wounded.

“He knows he did wrong.  He’s a grown man like I said. He aimed a gun at a house, which he should’ve never done,” Conklin said.

In a brutal dose of irony, it was the kind of heartbreak Taibi knows too well. His own daughter died from cancer.

Taibi: “I lost my daughter two years prior to that. I know what they were going through.”

Young: “And you know if you had somebody to blame it wouldn’t be so easy to forgive would it?”

Taibi: “No. Not at all.”

Young: “And now you’re that guy.”

Taibi: “Yes.”

But he is asking for a measure of forgiveness all the same. He said he was promised two years in exchange for his guilty plea and cannot understand why he is still locked up. The parole board turned him down after two years.

“I’m not belittling the death of this little girl, trust me, I’m not. It was an accident, Mr. Young. It was an accident. I’m here facing my responsibilities.  Here I am. Someone died.  It was my bullet. I took responsibility. My two years are done. Why am I still here?” he said.

Taibi is appealing the parole board’s decision. The 49-year-old tile layer from Howard Beach is now in his third year behind bars for making the worst mistake of his life.

“I’m a prisoner.  I did everything right possible in my life not to end up in here and doing something that I love puts me here,” he said.

Taibi’s next scheduled parole hearing won’t take place until the summer of 2013, a minimum four years behind bars.

Taibi said when he’s released he’d like to move back to Howard Beach and teach gun safety.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

  • The human race

    Here’s the deal – You plead guilty, your sentence will be 2-8, you”ll serve the minimum. No one told the parole board of the deal?????? Not all promises are made to be kept as they should be with honor and integrity. In my eyes there are many victims here. Unfortunately no winners. …………………
    Maybe someone is lying??????
    Wish there was a replay of what was on the table.
    If he was told the minimum and served his time as he should then………………………………………….
    You can;t recall the shot or turn back time. Time is a life sentence regardless of where you are, what you are doing, and, what you have done.
    A regrettable accident.

  • KPMc

    Lou Young is usually a thorough reporter but…

    What was he convicted of/pleaded guilty to?

    What is his sentence regardless of the alleged two-year deal mentioned?

    What is the maximum sentence?

    A tragedy yes but prison should be for rehabilitation (rarely happens) or keeping those that can’t live in civilized society from breathing our air.

    It shouldn’t be about retribution or vengeance which this seems to be.

    • amy

      Your questions probably werent allowed by the prison,

      • KPMc

        Those are a matter of public record. A reporter can’t find out how long someone is sentenced for or what the conviction is?

        • Phyllis

          I am a friend of Eddie and his family. He was sentenced to 2nd Degrre manslaughter. His sentence was 2 to 8. he has been an exemplaryinmate and never had a previous reciod. This was an accident. He didn’t INTEND to hurt anyone. He was denied parole and his appeal to the parole board was denied as well. He is not being rehabilitated in there. What are they rehabilitating? Him being imprisoned is no use to his family or the victims family and is a TOTAl WASTE of our tax dollars

          • Richard

            Nobody likes to see somebody in prison. No rational person enjoys it, unless of course the person is a psychopath. But there’s such a thing as deterrence. Courts do what they can to deter others. That’s what it comes down to. I’d agree with one poster here that there’s probably not much good prison is doing this person; but it’s presumably deterring others: if it can even a few others think twice, as they say, about potentially negligent consequences out hunting, that’s the sentence serves its purpose. A life was lost. That life can never be restored. The person who did this is very probably an otherwise decent person. But the judge (and now the parole board) feels the need to make a statement about the child who died and about others who might do something similar.

  • Scott

    There seems to be enough fault for everyone. A person hunting in a tree stand may not see what’s on the other side of the deer. If there is a lot of dwellings in that area perhaps that area should be designated a shotgun area. Whose ever at fault, my heart goes out to everyone involved. Keep in mind, he admitted his guilt and made a contract with the prosecutor to take a plea. That contract should be enforced. I can’t imagine being in his shoes. As for those who say “All hunters should go to jail for killing innocent creatures” I wonder how many fatalities are caused by “innocent creatures” running into cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Actually the hunters are doing the job of the game wardens. The wardens would have to shoot or otherwise eliminate these innocent creatures.

  • debi

    keep him!!!!what was he thinking when he pointed a high powered rifle towards someones home?sure he’s sorry…..so are this little girls family…

  • whiteeagle

    I’ve been a hunter and shooter for all of my adult life, and much of my childhood. I have absolutely no problem with this guy being in jail.

    As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as a “hunting accident.” People are hurt and killed with firearms solely because the person possessing the firearm failed to act responsibly. In this case, the hunter had an absolute responsibility to be sure of what was behind his target before he fired a shot. He was in a tree stand, so he had plenty of time to learn exactly what was around him; it wasn’t that he was bushwhacking in new territory and might have made a weak claim that he didn’t know what was behind the hill. He was just too lazy to check, or too undisciplined to hold fire when a deer moved in the wrong direction. As a result, a little girl died, and he should pay the price.

    To those who say that the guy should get a break because it was an accident, I say that he did. If it wasn’t an “accident”, a murder charge would have been appropriate. Instead, we’re dealing with a lesser degree of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, the latter offences designed for those who kill carelessly, rather than with intent.

    As I stated, I’m an avid shooter, hunter and firearms owner, so my comments shouldn’t be taken as being limited to firearms. If you drive a car, run a boat or do anything else that has the potential to kill or maim an innocent, you’d better be assumed to accept the responsibility that goes with it. If someone is injured or killed, the person responsible should be expected to man up and accept the consequences, and not whine that he got a bad deal. Life is about choices. If you make a bad one, at least accept responsibility for it. Because the full burden is yours.

    This guy is complaining about having to serve four years, yet his actions amounted to a death sentence for a little girl, and deprived her parents of their loved one for life. Seems like he’s getting off easy by comparison.

  • Hemigway

    Most of you should go to jail for being so stupid ! You think this mans intentions was to kill a kid, He wasnt on drugs like most of you commenters appear to be , not all mind you some comments are valid. This is about the system and there lies .Yes there was a life taken , yes there is retribution, remorse and punishment. Now parole board do the right thing and stop fearing for your jobs, or public outcry. An accident caused a result a result had a consequense and a debt to society was paid. You cant keep the prisons full just so people can keep their jobs, oh wait apparently you are…

  • fritz von

    Put a grizzly in his cell and let him hunt that. If he comes out alive, he goes free, if not, he’s bear crap, or is he that already?

  • John

    HE AIMED AND SHOT AT A HOME. SOME ACCIDENT! He should be locked up. If he doesn’t understand why he’s behind bars, something is wrong with his sense of justice.

  • Bob Grace

    I believe the state of New York is part to blame for the accidental death of Chary. The hunter pulled the trigger, but was hunting with a weapon in an area evidently that was approved by the state for these conditions. The view from the clip on TV tonight clearly showed high rise buildings in the back ground and the lived in tailer in the near distance some 500 yards or so away. New York needs to revise their laws pertaining to areas for hunting deer with high powered rifles compared to shot gun areas. Shot guns shoot only up to a couple of hundre yards, while a high powered rifle can shoot thousands of feet up to more than a mile. I feel for the hunter, Mr. Taibi because he is going to have to live with this pain for the rest of his life. But this accident could have been prevented by matching the weapon to the area and making it safer for everyone. Michigan, where I live, has done a real good job of making it much safer to hunt deer by dividing the state as to where it is safe to use rifles and where it is safe to use shot gun. In some areas, both are illegal and only archery is permitted. Please look into your laws before some other little girl dies unecessarly!

  • Tiffany

    Retribution should have been served doing community service, educating hunters on the importance of safety awareness, and counseling should be provided to both families. It is evident this man poses no threat to anyone and is also a victim himself to an accident. Denying a man parole who had no further need to stay in prison, and is a well behaved inmate, is an unjust on behalf of our justice system. What message do the people of our justice system send out to the public when an incompetent Judge allows a man to go free on bail after shooting and killing a NYC Cop, a decision influenced on a technicality of extradition laws, but A parole board will deny a man release after serving over two years and has never been a threat to society. Holding him serves no justice to society, to the child’s family, or to this man and his family. It is an unjust decision that is NOT based on other similar precedent cases like itself. Another example is a celebrity who was at one point charged with vehicular manslaughter walked away free without ever serving time, how is this in anyway just when we look at situations that are closely relevant? This man needs to be released from prison.

    • Marie Lanza

      If he wasn’t out murdering deer the little girl would still be alive. Keep him in jail

  • Kevin

    Hunting is a legal activity…if he did something wrong while hunting…obviously he didnt mean to do it. Why would anyone deny him parole? He accepted responsibility for his actions. Poor guy has been through enough. What does him being in jail do for anyone?

    • Marie Lanza

      He’sa piece of garbage. He should have killed himself. It was probably an act to get sympathy

  • Abigail

    Why would the parole board deny him parole? Funny how we can allow people like Casey Anthony to kill their own children, hide thier body and deny deny deny totally get away with it but let a man who has taken responsibility for an accident rot in jail. What kind of scoiety do we live in and WHO is monitoring this?

  • Vrginia

    This was an accident. Why are we paying to keep someone in jail for an accident. He’s not a threat to scoiety and is not being rehabilitated. WHat is wrong with this picture?

  • Matthew

    If he was promised two years as part of a guilty plea, that’s what he should’ve got. I mean, come on! Give the man a break; he’s been through enough as it is!

    • Marie Lanza

      He’s been through enough what about that little girl’s parents

      • Matthew

        I understand that, and I can’t imagine how they feel, but it was an accident. He didn’t mean for it to happen, so why continue to keep him locked up after he’s taken responsibility for his actions and done the time he was told? Is he really that dangerous to society? My feeling is no.

        • bebi

          our children are called “creatures?” is that what people that hunt thnk? they come up here to hunt..”they are not familar to their surroundings?, they shoot a high powered rifle 500 feet from someones home?, twice?…alittle girl is dead, and alll that is said,is ” i’m sorry, it was a mistake”…ur fu–ing right!!!!!!!keep him in jail……..let him convince the other convicts how sorry he is….he deserves what he gets…………

  • Richard

    Who’s idea is it to have loud music on every video? How did we ever get to this point? Isn’t an interview enough without having piano runs blasting in our ears? This is becoming common practice. For what reason I don’t know.

  • Whycare?

    Oh well!! All hunters should go to jail for killing innocent creatures.

    • Marie Lanza

      Your absolutely right. I’m waiting for someone to blame the parents for living there.

      • amy

        You all have no idea about how the parole board works. This person was sentenced to 2 to 8 years in prison, He probably was told by his lawyer after paying him 10k that he would be out in 2 years. This is the typical SOB lawyer move that speeds up the court system by pleading as many cases as possible. He then finds out that he WILL serve 2/3’s of his 8 years when he gets to prison. Parole boards will not put their name on any release of a “violent” felon.

        • KPMc

          Where did you get the 2-8 years from? What did he plead to?

          None of those questions are answered in the article.

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