RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Fort Riley soldier who accidentally shot his wife in the face while cleaning his gun has been sentenced to probation.
Private First Class Randy Blevins, 22, was sentenced in Riley County Magistrate Court on Monday, July 23, 2012.
Blevins previously pleaded no contest to Aggravated Battery in connection with an incident on September 22, 2011 at his home on E.J. Frick Drive in Manhattan.
He was cleaning his handgun when the gun, which was still loaded, went off and struck his wife, Cersi Blevins, in the jaw. She was 19 years old at the time. According to Blevins’ lawyer, Thomas Addair of the Addair Thurston Law Firm in Manhattan, the bullet penetrated her jaw on one side of her face and came out the other side, breaking her jaw bone and several of her teeth.
Addair said in court that the couple was not having any domestic problems or arguing at the time of the incident, calling the shooting a “tragic accident.” Blevins, he said, was extremely upset and trying to stop the bleeding from his wife’s wounds as he and other family members waited for an ambulance to arrive. Addair added that Blevins shows a great deal of remorse over what happened and is not a danger to anyone, including his wife, and that the couple is still happily married. Blevins has since gotten rid of all his firearms.
Cersi Blevins appeared in court for her husband’s sentencing hearing, along with her mother. Scars were evident on her face where she has healed from the gunshot wounds.
Both women told Senior Judge Jack Burr, who was presiding over the hearing, that they did not want to see Blevins serve time behind bars and asked that he be placed on probation.
After hearing what they had to say, Burr sentenced Blevins to 36 months probation.
Judge Burr said the feelings of Cersi Blevins and her mother played a big part in his decision not to send Randy Blevins to prison.
“It was a real factor for them to be here and tell me what they have told me so you might keep that in mind in the future. Choices are sometimes good, sometimes bad but these were not very good, frankly, and that’s why you’re standing here today,” Judge Burr said to Blevins.
“It won’t happen again. It shouldn’t have happened to begin with,” Blevins told the judge.
Blevins is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley. His attorney said that as a result of the accidental shooting, there is potential that his military career will be ending.
Assistant Riley County Attorney Barry Disney says despite the fact that Blevins did not mean to injure his wife, the state alleged that his conduct was reckless. Even though the shooting was not intentional, Disney says it still carries criminal responsibility.
Thomas Addair, Blevins' lawyer, says the sentencing is "one more step at getting this horrific accident behind the family."
Addair believes Blevins was cleaning a .357 revolver when the shooting happened.