Man sentenced to six years for Kodiak shooting death

Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2005

KODIAK - A Kodiak man has been sentenced to six years in prison for the shooting death of another man.

Jeffrey Brigman, 28, was convicted on a manslaughter charge in the death of Kenneth Morris Jr., 25, last summer. Brigman originally was charged with first- and second-degree murder, but those charges were dropped in a May plea agreement.

At Monday's sentencing hearing, District Attorney Michael Gray and defense attorney Allan Thielen said the facts of the case pointed most convincingly to an accident.

Brigman passed a lie-detector test, both attorneys said.

Also, a ballistics test by Alaska State Troopers showed the type of gun involved in the shooting - an Accu-tek 9 mm semiautomatic pistol - could be discharged after the type of impact described in Brigman's recount of events. Even without a clip in the weapon but with a bullet in the chamber the pistol could, when held in a certain position, go off with a slap of the hand.

The shooting took place Aug. 17 at Mile 15 of the Chiniak Highway. Brigman, Morris and a woman had been out target practicing earlier in the day. They had emptied the gun's ammo clip, removed it from the gun and placed it beneath the seat. Both Brigman and Morris were intoxicated, according to court documents. Brigman said he believed the gun was empty.

According to Brigman's testimony, at some point he tried to hand the gun to Morris, holding it in the position later determined necessary for the gun to go off without pulling the trigger. When Morris reached for the gun, the force of his hand hitting the gun caused it to go off, directly into his chest.

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