A Massachusetts sporting club will donate $10,000 to children's charities as part of a plea deal in the death of an 8-year-old boy from Connecticut who accidentally shot himself with an uzi during a gun fair.
Christopher Bizilj, a 3rd grader from Ashford, died after accidentally shooting himself in the head at gun fair at the Westfield Club in October 2008.
Bizilj's parents approved the Westfield Sportsman's Club's plea deal reached in court on Thursday. The decision followed emotional testimony from the boy's mother that left the judge visibly shaken.
The Westfield Club pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and paid a $1000 fine. In addition, the club will donate $10,000 in Christopher's name to children's charities. Additional charges including illegally providing a machine gun to a minor will be dismissed after one year if the donations are made.
Christopher lost control of the 9mm micro sub machine gun as it recoiled while he fired at a pumpkin.
"We trusted this event would be fun and safe," his mother, Suzanne, said in a written statement read aloud in court Thursday. "My family has been ripped apart and relationships have been badly damaged."
She went on to describe how she has been unable to shake the image of her son in the hospital with a bloody towel around his head and tubes coming out of his small body.
The judge presiding over the case, Judge Peter Velis, called her statement "one of the most, if not the most, bone-chilling things I've heard since I've been on the bench, and I've heard a lot."
"This poor young fellow lies in his grave --- what in God's name was anyone, if not everyone, thinking?".. Velis said. "The good memories of this boy are going to be kept alive, not the bad memories -- This community does not deserve anything less."
Three men who organized the gun fair and provided the weapons are scheduled to stand trial in June on charges of involuntary manslaughter. All have pleaded not guilty.
The Bizilj family has also filed a $4 million lawsuit against the club, the event's promoters and those who supplied the weapon and ammunition.