A Pennsylvania state trooper will not be charged with manslaughter or homicide for shooting and killing a colleague during a firearms training exercise, prompting heavy criticism from the victim's family, KYW-TV reported.
Instead, 42-year-old Cpl. Richard Schroeter was charged with reckless endangerment in the shooting death of 26-year-old Officer David Kedra.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Schroeter, a 20-year-veteran, was arrested more than four months after shooting Kedra in the abdomen while explaining trigger mechanics on his department-issued gun. Kedra was in first year as a trooper at the time of the September 2014 shooting in Plymouth Township. He was pronounced dead at a Philadelphia hospital.
Ten out of 18 members of a grand jury refused to charge Schroeter with manslaughter. Thirteen members of the jury voted to charge him with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment instead, one count for each trooper in the class at the time of the incident. If convicted, Schroeter could face between five and 10 years in prison.
But the victim's sister, Christina Kedra, has denounced prosecutors for pursuing the lighter charge She and her family have demanded that an independent prosector address the case.
"For some reason, 'cause of how the grand jury was manipulated -- and we all know how grand juries work in this country; they don't -- they didn't see it that way," she said of the panel rejecting the involuntary manslaughter charge against Schroeter.
Schroeter's attorney told KYW that his client was "wracked" with guilt over the fatal shooting.
"I am terribly sympathetic about the matter, but we have to follow the law," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a statement. "The case was put in front of the grand jury which thoughtfully evaluated the evidence and did not recommend harsher charges. I realize the family is not pleased, but we have to apply and follow the law. Again, I am terribly sympathetic to the family."
Watch KYW's report, as aired earlier this week, below.
[h/t The Free Thought Project]