Defense Attorney Claims Shooting Was Accidental

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A 25-year-old Westchester County man has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting of his girlfriend. His lawyer says it was an accident.

The Westchester County district attorney said Eric Gaulin of Tarrytown pleaded not guilty Tuesday to manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

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Police said the shooting occurred Sept. 2 – Labor Day – at Gaulin’s townhouse as he showed several rifles to the victim, 23-year-old Megan Bookstaver of Hicksville, Long Island. They had gone target shooting several days earlier and had been gun-shopping that day.

The district attorney said Bookstaver, a Mercy College student, was hit in the face by a shot from one of the rifles around 4:20 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene. Gaulin’s attorney said the shooting was “a tragic accident.”

A woman identified as Bookstaver’s grandmother said shortly after the shooting that she believed the incident was just a terrible accident. She said Bookstaver and Gaulin knew gun safety.

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Gaulin is being held on $50,000 bail. He faces a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted.

He’s due back in court on April 23.

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