Former Marine to plead guilty to negligent homicide in his brother's death
NEPHI — A West Haven man accused of fatally shooting his younger brother will plead guilty to negligent homicide and carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol or drugs, both class A misdemeanors, his attorney said.
Eric Charlton, 27, initially was charged with second-degree felony manslaughter after his younger brother was shot and killed during a camping trip with friends at Yuba Lake in May.
On Sept. 21, a judge dismissed the manslaughter charge and ordered Charlton to stand trial on a lesser charge of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, as well as misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol.
As part of a proposed plea deal, the reckless endangerment charge would be dismissed. Charlton, a former Marine, will enter the guilty plea Oct. 23, attorney Susanne Gustin said.
Charlton and his younger brother, Cameron, 17, were camping with friends and family on May 28 when Cameron Charlton was fatally shot, according to court documents.
The two brothers, along with a friend, were sitting around a campfire drinking around 3 a.m. when Eric Charlton began demonstrating firearm techniques with gun unloaded, charges state. Police say Eric Charlton then re-inserted the gun's magazine, and the three men sat talking.
At one point, Eric Charlton made the comment, "You're my brother. You know you can trust me." He then pointed the gun at Cameron Charlton's temple and fired. Cameron Charlton was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police later reported Eric Charlton's blood-alcohol level at 0.06 percent.
Gustin said she has been in negotiations with the Juab County District Attorney's Office for several days, and she, along with the Charlton family, are pleased with the possible plea deal.
"I just don't think his family could have taken much more," she said. "They're happy about the resolution."
Juab County Attorney Jared Eldridge declined to comment until the plea has been formally entered.
"There's a tentative deal on the table," Eldridge said. "I won't know until he enters the plea whether or not he's actually going to do it."
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