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Published: Sunday, 10/1/2006

Jury convicts student of murder in Lima

LIMA, Ohio - A 19-year-old college student was convicted yesterday of murder in the shooting death of his former girlfriend.

The Allen County Common Pleas Court jury found Richard Wegmann, of Springboro, Ohio, guilty after about an hour and a half of deliberations yesterday morning and seven hours on Friday.

Prosecutors said Wegmann shot Linsi Light, 19, in the face with a handgun in her apartment Feb. 12 after she broke up with him the day before. Defense attorneys had claimed the shooting was accidental.

Judge Richard Warren sentenced Wegmann to 18 years to life in prison.

Both Wegmann and Ms. Light, a former homecoming queen from the Williams County town of Montpelier, were students at Ohio State University's Lima campus and lived in the same building in Lima.

Ms. Light's friends told police she had tried to break up with him.

Wegmann told detectives he had gone to Ms. Light's apartment to return some of her belongings, including the gun. He said he was sitting on an end table flipping the gun and Ms. Light was on the couch about three feet away when it accidentally went off.

In a videotape shown to jurors during the six-day trial, Wegmann told detectives: "Any way I say it, it's going to look like it's my fault. There was an accident. The gun went off. I had the gun in my hand and it fired. It's not like I was aiming at her."

The prosecution produced a ballistics expert who said the muzzle of the gun was between half an inch and three inches from Ms. Light's face when it was fired.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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