W. Haven man pleads guilty in shooting death of brother

Oct 24 2012 - 6:14am

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Eric Charlton. File Pool Photo
Eric Charlton
Eric Charlton. File Pool Photo
Eric Charlton

SALT LAKE CITY -- A 27-year-old Weber County man has pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the shooting death of his teenage brother on a Memorial Day camping trip.

Eric Charlton accepted misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and being under the influence with a .45-caliber handgun.

The West Haven man, a former Marine, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20 in 4th District Court in Nephi.

His lawyer said Charlton swung his gun in the air without knowing that a bullet had been pushed into the chamber. Charlton said he had removed a magazine from the gun earlier.

Eric Charlton's 17-year-old brother, Cameron, was shot in the head May 28 while the two were camping with family and friends at the Oasis campground in Yuba Lake State Park in Juab County.

The older brother was previously charged with felony manslaughter in the case.

A probable cause statement details how the Juab County Sheriff's Office believes the shooting occurred.

"At some point during the night, Eric unloaded a Colt .45 model 1911 handgun and showed Cameron and his friend that the handgun was unloaded," according to the statement, which says that all three of them had consumed alcohol.

"Eric then used the handgun to demonstrate some techniques he had learned at a recent tactical training class he had attended. After the demonstration, Eric re-inserted the loaded magazine into the handgun and the three sat in chairs around the campfire and continued talking."

The conversation then turned to Eric Charlton's experience in the military, and he began talking about how important trust is in the military.

"During this conversation, Eric made the comment, "You're my brother, you know you can trust me," the probable cause statement reads. "As Eric made this statement, he reached for and drew the handgun with his right hand, pointing it at Cameron's left temple and fired."

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