Woman pleads guilty to fatal shooting

 By Mark Nielsen

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A woman has pleaded guilty to careless use of a firearm in relation to a deadly discharge of a rifle in 2018.

Through an agreed statement of facts read into the court record on January 27, Martha Mary Joseph, 38, admitted responsibility for the death of Shauna Sam during the early morning of June 21, 2018.

The two women and two men had been driving back to the Yekooche reserve about 75 kilometres northwest of Fort St. James after they had gone out to fire off some rounds at a nearby clearing.

Sam was sitting in the front passenger seat and Joseph was sitting directly behind her with the gun, a .303 Lee Enfield rifle, in her possession. The gun went off, the court was told, and the bullet struck Sam in the back.

Despite efforts to save her, Sam was unable to survive the blood loss. She was 39 years old at the time of her death.

Joseph soon admitted to police that she discharged the firearm.

A firearms analyst later determined that the gun had a “light trigger pull” of about 2 1/2 pounds of pressure, about half the standard of 5-6 pounds.

Joseph had completed the course and testing to acquire a firearms acquisition licence but had not been issued one at the time of the incident, the court was also told.

Joseph had been facing a charge of manslaughter prior to entering the guilty plea. In pleading guilty to the lesser count, Joseph waived her right to a trial.

She will be sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court at a later date.

 Mark Nielsen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the  PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada




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