Rice agrees to plea bargain in shooting death of friend
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Nathanael Rice of Parachute, accused of accidentally shooting a friend in the head and killing him, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of criminally negligent homicide, a class four felony.
The attorneys on both sides of the case submitted the plea bargain proposal on Tuesday.
But District Judge James Boyd put the deal on hold, according to the court clerk’s office, in order to give the family of the victim a chance to appear in court and make their wishes known about the disposition of the case.
That hearing is to take place Aug. 28.
If the plea deal is accepted, Rice, 26, would face a maximum of six years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000, with a mandatory two years of parole following any prison sentence.
Rice originally was charged with three felonies: criminally negligent homicide, reckless manslaughter and illegal discharge of a firearm.
The remaining two counts would be dismissed under the terms of the plea bargain with the district attorney’s office.
If the plea deal is rejected, however, and if Rice were to be convicted on all counts and ordered to serve maximum, consecutive sentences, he could go to prison for up to 38 years.
According to court records, Rice was at a friend’s house near Parachute on Jan. 14, 2012, with several other people, some in their teens and 20s.
Rice was handling a semi-automatic pistol that he owned and meant to show to his friend. He reportedly was checking to see if there was a bullet in the chamber, with his finger on the trigger, when the gun went off.
The bullet hit and killed Jeremy Caywood, 30, of Battlement Mesa.
When law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene, according to a court report, they saw two other pistols lying near Rice’s weapon, which was sitting on a countertop between the living room and kitchen area of the house.
No one else in the house was injured, according to court records.
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