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Marysville man sentenced to more than 13 years in shooting death of 6-year-old daughter

EVERETT — Marysville resident Richard Peters was sentenced Dec. 1 to more than 13 years in prison, after being convicted Nov. 23 of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his 6-year-old daughter, Stormy, one year ago.

If Peters had been convicted of second-degree murder, as Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Stern had also charged him with, he could have faced more than 20 years in prison, but jurors acquitted Peters of the murder charge after a week-long trial.

Stern alleged that Peters was drunk and had intentionally pointed a gun at his daughter to scare her or shut her up, but not to hurt her, while Peters' defense attorney, Karen Halverson, argued that prosecutors had no proof of Peters' intentions. Halverson added that Peters plans to appeal his conviction.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Michael Downes sentenced Peters near the upper end of the limit on the grounds that Peters committed a preventable shooting, by handling a loaded gun while drunk around a child.

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 nightstand, but he told investigators that he hadn't thought it was loaded. He said that he pulled the trigger as he was removing the ammunition 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.

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