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Published: Friday, 5/14/2004

City man receives 4 years in prison for death of friend

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks said the actions of William M. Brown went far beyond horseplay in September when he accidentally shot and killed his 18-year-old friend.

In the moments before he shot Dominick Palicki in the chest, Brown, 19, aimed the revolver at two others, squeezing the trigger, and then fired a round into the floor.

Judge Franks said the carelessness with the revolver should have put Brown on notice that he was engaging in extremely dangerous conduct that could result in life-shattering consequences.

"I know that the law says this is reckless, but it also says it is homicide. It was an act of perverse disregard for a known risk," Judge Franks said.

Brown of 1837 North Erie St. pleaded no contest to reckless homicide and was found guilty April 26 by Judge Franks. He was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison - one year shy of the maximum penalty he could have received for reckless homicide.

Previously, Brown was found delinquent in Juvenile Court of attempted felonious assault in an unrelated shooting, and was not allowed to have a gun. He also was found delinquent in 1997 in Juvenile Court case on an unrelated weapons charge.

At sentencing, Brown apologized to Mr. Palicki's family. "I loved the guy. He treated me like a little brother," he said.

Witnesses told investigators the revolver belonged to Mr. Palicki, but he traded it for the defendant's semi-automatic handgun on the evening of Sept. 26 at Brown's home.

The victim reportedly told his girlfriend that the revolver he gave to Brown only had a single bullet.

Then, during the subsequent horseplay, Brown pointed the gun at the victim's sister and later again at her friend, squeezing the trigger each time without the weapon firing.

After Brown fired into the floor, Brown pointed the revolver at Mr. Palicki. But Mr. Palicki, apparently not thinking the gun was loaded, told Brown to go ahead and shoot.

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