SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CBS/AP) Ten days after the trial began, a Massachusetts jury has acquitted the organizer of a gun show where an 8-year-old boy accidentally killed himself with an Uzi submachine gun in 2008.
A Hampden Superior Court jury found former Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury not guilty on Friday of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the death of Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn. The charge carried up to 20 years on prison.
District Attorney William Bennett had argued that Fleury's advertising for the event falsely said there was no age limit or license required to shoot machine guns.
The boy's father, Dr. Charles Bizilj, had brought Christopher and his 11-year-old brother Colin to the gun show for some fun. Colin stepped up during a demonstration and fired the Uzi, which shoots up to 1,200 rounds per minute, without a problem.
Then Christopher went to fire the gun. Bennett said an unlicensed and uncertified 15-year-old boy was helping Christopher.
The teenager gave the Uzi to Christopher and had one hand on the boy and one on the gun, Bennett said. The boy lost control of the gun, which recoiled upward when fired and shot him in the face.
While deliberating, jurors were allowed to watch a video of the incident taken by the father, Charles Bizilj.
The two men who supplied the guns for the gun show, Carl Giuffre and Domenico Spano, both of Connecticut, had conducted the same gun shoot at the Westfield club for seven years without incident. Giuffre and Spano have pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and are awaiting trial.
Charles Bizilj was not charged because he was a layman, and based his decision to allow his sons to fire the gun on information from others who should have known it was too dangerous, prosecutors have said.