Entries in Cannon (5)


Homemade Cannon Murder: No Evidence Killing Intentional, DA Says

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- The California man who allegedly killed his girlfriend with a homemade cannon had previously served prison time on weapons and auto theft charges and had pleaded guilty to domestic violence against the woman.

His history with the law could be why Richard Dale Fox is facing a first-degree murder charge, even though San Diego County Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody said there was no evidence that the killing was intentional.

Fox, 39, pleaded not guilty Thursday in the death of Jeanette Ogara, 38.  Ogara died instantly when shrapnel from the device went through the couple’s trailer in Potrero, San Diego County, and struck her early Tuesday morning.

In a tearful 911 call he made to police after the device detonated, Fox can be heard sobbing and hysterically describing what happened, saying it was an accident.  In a jailhouse interview following his arrest, Fox -- who sustained shrapnel injuries to his right leg -- said he was sorry and wished he had been the one who caught the blast, rather than Ogara.

“[Fox’s] emotion won’t make or break the charge, but the fact that the prosecutor is saying we don’t think this is intentional makes you wonder well then, why did they feel the need to pursue a murder charge?” ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said Monday on Good Morning America.

Court records show Fox served prison time for gun possession charges and auto theft in the 1990s.  Fox also pleaded guilty in 2009 to a misdemeanor battery charge against Ogara, and was ordered to participate in a year-long domestic violence recovery program, in addition to probation.

The probation and a limited protection order against Fox expired in January.

“The best case scenario for him as this case moves forward is that jurors and prosecutors feel sorry for him and say this is a guy that clearly didn’t mean to do this and is completely heartbroken,” Abrams added.

Fox is also charged with the explosion of a destructive device and child endangerment.  The couple’s 4-year-old daughter was in the trailer at the time and was not hurt.  She is now staying with her grandparents.

Fox, who is being held on $3.5 million bail, faces a possible life sentence without parole if he is convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Who Killed Girlfriend With Cannon is Charged

Image Source/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A California man is charged with murder after killing his girlfriend with a homemade cannon.

Richard Dale Fox, 39, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to first-degree murder in the death of Jeanette Ogara, 38. He’s also charged with the explosion of a destructive device and child endangerment. The couple’s 4-year-old daughter was in the trailer at the time and was unharmed.

Fox, also known as Richard Gail Barrett, is being held on $3.5 million bail.  He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

The five-minute 911 call has been obtained by ABC News affiliate KGTV.

“It was my fault, it was an accident, I didn’t mean it,” Fox said on the 911 call.  “I don’t think she’s breathing.”

On the call Fox is crying and apologizing to Ogara, whom he called his wife.

“I don’t think she’s alive anymore,” he told the dispatcher.

When Fox allegedly lit the cannon filled with explosives, shrapnel debris from the explosion flew through the trailer siding and hit Ogara in the chest.  Ogara was pronounced dead on the scene and Fox’s right leg was treated for shrapnel wounds before he was brought to San Diego Central Jail.

A friend of the couple told KGTV the couple’s daughter is with her grandparents.

Detectives searched the trailer for explosives, finding the device described as a “cannon” according to the San Diego County Sherriff’s office.

The investigation is ongoing and authorities have not yet determined a motive.  Fox is due in court March 16.

This is not Fox’s first run-in with the law.  He pled guilty in 2009 to a misdemeanor battery charge against Ogara in October 2006, according to UT San Diego.

For that charge, Fox had been ordered to participate in a 52-week domestic violence recovery program and was placed on probation for three years.  A judge had also issued a limited protective order, which expired along with his probation in the beginning of January.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Kills Girlfriend With Homemade Cannon

Thinkstock/Getty Images(POTRERO, Calif.) -- A woman was killed early Tuesday morning when a projectile from a homemade cannon allegedly fired by her boyfriend crashed into their mobile home in Potrero, Calif. , Richard Fox, the boyfriend, has since been arrested.

When authorities responded to a call for an explosion at about 12:15 a.m., in this mountain community about 40 miles southeast of San Diego near the U.S.-Mexico border, they found an unusual scene.

“It looked like some type of cannon had been fired [toward] the exterior of a five-wheel trailer,” California Fire Capt. Mike Mohler told ABC News. “[The projectile] went through the trailer, striking a 33-year-old woman and killing her.” (Later reports corrected her age; she is 38.)

The woman, whose name has not been released and was earlier reported as Fox’s wife, was pronounced dead on the scene. Fox was treated for shrapnel wounds in his right leg at a hospital before being taken to jail.

It is not yet clear what Fox, 39, was doing with the cannon or if the shot was accidental. Mohler did not know the size of the cannon, but said it may have been some type of “homemade contraption.”

The sheriff’s department is handling the homicide investigation. Sheriff Sgt. David Martinez said authorities haven’t determined a motive.

Three other adults and a 4-year-old girl were also in the home at the time.

When asked if he had ever encountered a similar situation, Mohler said, “I would say that if it wasn’t the first, it hadn’t happened in a long time.”

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cops Probe Death of Boy Killed By Toy Cannon

Comstock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Utah cops are trying to determine what happened when a small replica cannon fired into the face of a 14-year-old boy, killing him.

“We’re waiting for the autopsy,” said Joyce Hansen, administrative assistant to the chief of police in Tremonton, Utah. She said it might take weeks, depending on the workload of the state medical examiner’s office in Salt Lake City.

Robby Ostberg died Monday when the replica 18th-century cannon he was holding fired accidentally, a police press release said.

According to the release, Ostberg had been playing video games with his 16-year-old brother prior to the cannon's blast.  He was dead when police arrived, the release said.

The release said the cannon was a .50-caliber weapon designed to be fired with black powder. Police did not know what type of propellant may have been in the cannon Monday or if there had been a projectile in it, police said.

Robby Ostberg often filled the cannon with black powder and fired tinfoil balls out of it, Cameron Kunsman, who called Robby his best friend, told the Deseret News.

Trevor Steinlicht, a neighbor, said cannons like the Ostbergs’ could send a projectile through a wall or kill “small game,” ABC4 said. They are known to go off accidentally, he said.  “All it takes is for something to slip and the hammer to drop on it and it will go boom,” Steinlicht said.

There is legal confusion over whether the miniature cannons are decorations, toys or firearms, according to a blog post by legal scholar Jonathan Turley.

“Utah laws are silent on replica firearms and antique firearms,” he notes. If the cannon that killed Ostberg was designed to fire a .50-caliber round, Turley asks, should it be treated as a firearm, and should it come with warnings and a safety lock?

Ostberg’s father, Allen Ostberg, was home at the time of the accident, the release said. A relative told ABC4 Salt Lake City that Ostberg was an Army veteran who had guns in the home, but he locked them and taught his sons gun safety.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Blackbeard's Cannon Lifted from Ocean Floor off North Carolina

Karen Browning/N.C. Department of Cultural Resources(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Archaeologists lifted a 300-year-old cannon from the pirate Blackbeard's ship off the coast of North Carolina Wednesday.

The eight-foot-long cannon was covered in sand and ocean debris called "concretion," which will take archaeologists and students at East Carolina University as many as eight years to crack through before getting to the metal cannon, according to Jennifer Woodward, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, which oversees the project.

"It was perfect.  It's a beautiful day, the crews were out earlier this morning, several boats out there witnessed it," Woodward said.  "It looks like it's covered in concretions, with cement all around it, and there will be lots of things attached to it."

Woodward said that in past recoveries of cannons from the ship, bits of rope, lead shot and gold dust had been found encased with the recovered artifact.  Researchers have also found wine glass stems and a leg shackle, likely used in the slave trade, she said.  Twelve cannons have been lifted from the ship so far.

Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, was the captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge, a captured French slave ship.  In 1717, he successfully blockaded the harbor in Charleston, S.C., where he demanded money and goods from the townspeople for weeks.

He used Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as his base of operations.  It was there that he met his end in 1718.

Lauren Hermley, a researcher with the group, said that Blackbeard likely grounded the ship on purpose before it sank, giving the pirate and his crew time to take off the big ticket items -- treasure troves of silver, for example.

He was rumored to have a treasure hidden somewhere, but if he did, the secret died with him.  The artifacts that remain are jackpots only to archaeologists and history buffs.

Hermley noted that the recovery of artifacts has been going on since 1997, and is expected to last until 2013.  Artifacts from the ship are on display in North Carolina museums and museums around the country.  It is the largest underwater archeological project in the country, she noted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio