Woman sentenced for state's first BB gun homicide

by: Lee Stoll Updated:

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LYNNWOOD, Wash. —

A woman who shot a man to death says she didn't think she could kill anyone.

That's because the gun was  a BB gun.

"I deserve punishment for the terrible loss of life that is ultimately my fault." Said Michelle Davidson as she pleaded  guilty to second degree manslaughter.

Friends and family listened to her tearful apology while holding the urn containing the ashes of 52-year-old Dean Urness.

"I hate that this happened.  Dean was my friend." She told the court.

Davidson was at her boyfriend’s Lynnwood home last spring.  The victim’s girlfriend also lived on the property but was told to move out.  The two men got into a fight.  Davidson stepped in with a pump action BB rifle and fired a shot, hitting Urness in the chest.  The BB lodged in his lung and killed him.

"It didn't occur to Michelle at the time that it was as dangerous as in fact it turned out to be." Said Davidson’s attorney, Laura Martin.

According to the Washington Department of Health two people, including Urness, have been killed with air guns since 2007.  Urness is the only homicide.  Davidson said  she kept the gun loaded to shoot rodents on the property but the BBs only scared them away.

"It had never even killed a rat." Said Martin.

Prosecutors first charged Davidson with murder but dropped the charge to manslaughter, believing Urness’s death was unintentional.

Instead of facing 15 years or more in prison, Davidson now faced fewer  than three years. Urness’s friends said that’s unfair.

"It's not an accident when you point a gun at somebody and shoot them.  That's not an accident."  Said his friend, Derek Dishman.

The judge sentenced Davidson to two years  in prison, the  middle of the sentencing range.

Friends said they will now spread Urness’s ashes over his favorite lake.