Woman whose shot in the air killed friend pleads guilty

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An Augusta woman who fired a gun into the air during a July Fourth celebration, killing a friend, pleaded guilty today.

Judge Michael N. Annis sentenced Katato C. Utley to serve three years in prison and an additional 12 years on probation.

As a condition of the probation, Ms. Utley, 24, will have to perform 1,000 hours of community service. Judge Annis told Ms. Utley the service should involve, when possible, talking to others about the importance of gun safety.

Ms. Utley insisted that what happened on Hicks Street was an accident. The bullet she fired into the air came down and fatally wounded Karen Franklin, 43.

The two women were close friends, and until the fatal shooting so were their families, according to those who spoke at today's hearing in Richmond County Superior Court.

The victim’s family suspected that there was more to what happened, but the grand jury chose to indict Ms. Utley for manslaughter instead of murder, Judge Annis said.

It was stupid, reckless conduct that cost a woman her life, a fact even more tragic because the two were friends, the judge said.

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bone 04/21/09 - 07:00 pm
uh, fired into the air and

uh, fired into the air and just happened to land on her friend? puhleeze....

pofwe 04/21/09 - 10:05 pm
Hey justus4, the victim was

Hey justus4, the victim was white, the killer black. You call this justice, justus4? Not a bad sentence for a drunk woman weilding a firearm and acting reckless. This was 2nd degree murder at the least. Katato C. Utley skated. 18 months she'll be back on the skreet.

Fiat_Lux 04/21/09 - 11:14 pm
Katato, as in rhymes with

Katato, as in rhymes with 'potato'? Didn't her parents like her? No wonder she was acting so stupid with a gun. She probably tried to kill herself and missed.

realitycheck1 04/21/09 - 11:43 pm
pofwe...no such thing as 2nd

pofwe...no such thing as 2nd degree murder in Georgia. If you kill someone while being "reckless" as you put it, it's involuntary manslaughter in Georgia.

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