A Bristol Borough man has been sentenced for an air rifle related crime.
James Stanley, 28, pleaded no contest to aggravated assault last week. Stanley was sentenced to five to ten years in state prison for the May 6, 2017 shooting incident.
Stanley’s victim, a 16-year-old family friend, was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania upon being struck in the chest with an air rifle pellet.
When police arrived at the hospital, the victim was, “weak, and struggling to breathe.”
Stanley claimed he was shooting at targets in his back yard, and ricocheted off a fence to strike the victim. He later admitted this was a lie, and requested family members repeat the lie on his behalf.
Upon further review, investigators concluded the shooting took place in Stanley’s living room.
Stanley told Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Diane E. Gibbons that the shooting was not intentional. “I’m a fidgety person,” Stanley stated. “We were talking and I guess I was playing with the safety and it went off… I didn’t realize I hit the trigger.”
Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon argued “This wasn’t an accident, your honor… This doesn’t just happen.” Gannon continued, “The grim reality is that the victim could’ve been killed that day.”
Gibson ultimately sentenced Stanley to five to ten years behind bars with a concurrent 10 years of probation. Stanley’s self involvement, and lack of remorse lead to the harsh sentence.
“You had your opportunities to apologize”, Gibbons said. “I find that these tears of yours are for yourself, not for her… You have shown a callousness and a hardness of heart that I have rarely seen.”
WBCB’s Jackson Sternberg contributed to this report.