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SC deputy charged with involuntary manslaughter after shooting bathing wife in head with military rifle

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A South Carolina sheriff’s deputy was charged with involuntary manslaughter after investigators said he shot his wife in the bathtub with a military-style rifle.

Matthew Blakley called North Augusta police shortly after 7:30 p.m. Saturday to report that he had accidentally shot his wife and that she needed help, reported The Augusta Chronicle.

The first officer arrived three minutes later, and the 24-year-old deputy charged toward him with blood-stained hands.

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The officer ordered Blakley to the ground and held him at gunpoint until other officers arrived.

Police went inside and called out to see if anyone else was there, and another off-duty sheriff’s deputy, Matthew Murphy, came out with blood-stained hands.

Officers found 24-year-old Candace Blakley lying in the bathtub with a gunshot wound to her head, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators found several guns inside the house, including an M4 carbine rifle in the bathroom.

They also found a spent shell casing and a broken wedding band on the bathroom floor.

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An arrest warrant show that Blakley, whose booking photo shows abrasions on his forehead, “unlawfully without malice killed his wife” with “reckless disregard by shooting her with an (M4) rifle.”

Investigators said Murphy, who called 911, corroborated statements made by Blakley about the woman’s fatal shooting.

The deputy, who said he attempted chest compressions on the victim, was the only witness listed on the incident report.

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A local newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking dashboard and body camera footage from the responding officers.

Blakley, a deputy since November, was fired Sunday because he violated department policy by being charged with a crime.

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Murphy was placed on paid leave, which authorities said is standard for officers who experience traumatic situations, but he has not been charged and investigators have not said why he was at the couple’s home.

“We want to make sure our guys are taken care of,” said. “Their mental health is extremely important to us. We want to make sure he’s OK.”


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