Marysville man convicted of manslaughter in shooting death of 6-year-old daughter
November 24, 2009 · Updated 11:10 AM
EVERETT — Marysville resident Richard Peters, 43, was convicted on Nov. 23 of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his 6-year-old daughter, Stormy, one year ago.
When Peters is sentenced Dec. 1, he could face more than 13 years in prison, but if he'd been convicted of second-degree murder, as Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Stern had additionally charged him with on Aug. 5, he could have faced more than 20 years in prison.
According to court papers, Peters had told detectives that he was cleaning his .45-caliber Colt handgun in his Tulalip-area home Nov. 16 of last year, when he shot his daughter once in the forehead. He'd spent that afternoon drinking vodka and Coke, and had sent Stormy to his bedroom to retrieve the semiautomatic firearm from his bedroom, but he told investigators that he hadn't thought it was loaded. He said that he pulled the trigger as he was removing the magazine from the gun, according to court documents.
Stormy, a first-grader at Quil Ceda Elementary School, died the next morning at a Seattle hospital.
In July, crime scene investigators used forensic lasers to trace the path of the bullet backward, from the wall that it had struck after killing Stormy, back to a mannequin they used to represent the girl, which was exactly the same height as her, and from there to the couch where they believe Peters was sitting. Investigators concluded that Peters was pointing the gun directly at his daughter at the time it went off.
Stern argued that Peters had intentionally pointed the gun at his daughter to scare her or shut her up, not to hurt her, while Peters' defense attorney, Karen Halverson, argued that prosecutors had no proof of Peters' intentions.