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DA cites reckless behavior in death of boy at gun show

Medical examiner takes stand in trial

By Dave Collins
Associated Press / January 5, 2011

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SPRINGFIELD — Reckless and illegal actions by a former police chief led to the accidental death of a boy who shot himself in the face with an Uzi submachine gun at a gun show, a prosecutor said yesterday.

But others, including the boy’s father, made the fatal decisions, a defense attorney said.

Edward Fleury, the former Pelham police chief whose company cosponsored the event, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and furnishing a weapon to a minor in connection with the 2008 death of Christopher Bizilj (buh-SEEL’) of Ashford, Conn.

“As a direct result of that reckless and illegal behavior, Christopher died,’’ District Attorney William Bennett said in his opening statement to the jury in Hampden Superior Court.

Bennett said Fleury’s advertising for the event falsely said there was no age limit or license required to shoot machine guns.

“Fleury represented that it was all legal and fun,’’ Bennett said. “The evidence will show that one of the purposes of Fleury’s enterprise was to furnish machine guns to children.’’

Bennett said the boy’s father, Dr. Charles Bizilj, “thought this would be a great adventure and a lot of fun for the boys.’’

Bizilj brought his two sons, Colin, 11, and Christopher, 8, to the event. Colin fired the Uzi first with no problem.

Then Christopher went to fire the gun. Bennett said an unlicensed and uncertified 15-year-old boy was helping Christopher. He gave the Uzi to Christopher and had one hand on the boy and one on the gun, Bennett said.

“It was illegal to allow that child to have the weapon in the first place,’’ Bennett told the jury. “Christopher is not capable of controlling this weapon. You will learn that this weapon fires 1,200 rounds per minute.

“He [Christopher] puts his finger on that trigger. It flips back. The small size of the gun makes it possible for the muzzle to come right back into his face.’’

Bennett said a bullet went through Christopher’s face.

Dr. Loren Mednick, a retired state medical examiner, testified yesterday that Christopher suffered such extensive brain damage and bleeding that it was impossible to save him.

A graphic video of the accident recorded by the boy’s father is expected to be introduced as evidence.