Carson City man bound over on involuntary manslaughter charge
October 13, 2012
The man accused of abandoning his friends after an accidental shooting in a remote part of Carson City was bound over to district court on an involuntary manslaughter charge Friday afternoon. Kennith Johnson is charged with fleeing the scene of an accidental shooting in a remote part of Brunswick Canyon on Aug. 19, 2011. According to court documents, Johnson and his two roommates, Anthony Kelich and Mike Scott, were allegedly drinking and shooting. After Johnson handed Kelich a newly reloaded .22 caliber rifle, the gun went off, shooting Scott through the cheek, according to court documents.“I shot my roommate. He died,” Kelich testified Friday when asked what happened by Deputy District Attorney Mary-Margaret Madden.Kelich pleaded guilty in November 2011 to involuntary manslaughter and illegally handling a firearm. He was a convicted ex-felon and therefore, it was illegal for him to be handling the rifle. Kelich is currently serving his sentence.Madden argued it was a chain of events that led to Scott’s death and Johnson could have prevented the death by breaking any one of the chains. Madden told Judge Ryan Russell, pro tem, the chain leading to Scott’s death was: Johnson’s purchase of an 18-pack of beer on the way to the target shooting, the purchase of the ammunition for his own gun, driving the three out to a remote part of Carson City.“It was his gun and his ammo he bought that day,” Madden said in her closing statement. “It was he (Johnson) who loaded his gun, he who handed it to Kelich when it went off.”Johnson’s defense attorney Ben Walker argued Johnson could not be charged with involuntary manslaughter because Kelich “completed” the crime of an ex-felon possessing a firearm when he took the gun from Johnson — and the gun went off after that crime had ended. Walker also argued it was not a crime for Johnson to flee the scene.“The death did not occur during the commission of a crime,” Walker said during his closing arguments.The only basis for trial, Walker told the judge, would be if the state could prove the crime of being intoxicated while handling a firearm (with a blood alcohol content of .10, the legal limit to drive in Nevada is .08) when the accidental shooting happened.Kelich testified Johnson told him their roommate, Scott, had been shot and Kelich ran from the passenger side of the truck to the driver’s side, where Scott lay on the ground. Johnson jumped into his truck and drove away, Kelich testified.The August shooting happened around 9 p.m., Kelich said, based on when the sun set.“We waited and waited and waited the whole damn night and he never came back,” Kelich said. The sun had just set when the shooting happened, even though it was still light outside. Scott began to shiver and Kelich tried to start a fire.Scott died the next morning, he said.Kelich managed to walk to a road and flag down two women in a truck who called police for him. Around the same time, 9 a.m. or so, Johnson drove to the Sheriff’s Office and called 911.“(Johnson) said he drove around the Carson Valley area prior to coming to the sheriff’s office,” Sgt. Craig Lowe testified.Johnson is set to appear in District Court, Department 1 at 9 a.m. Oct. 22.