Entries in Christopher Bizilj (3)


Ex-Police Chief Cleared in Uzi Expo Death

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BOSTON) -- The police chief who oversaw the 2008 gun expo where an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the face with an Uzi submachine gun was acquitted Friday after an emotional trial that featured video playback of the boy's last moments.

The jury found Edward Fleury not guilty of involuntary manslaughter of Christopher Bizilj on their first full day of deliberations at Hampden Superior Court in Massachusetts. Fleury was also cleared of three charges of furnishing machine guns to minors. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison.

Charles Bizilj was videotaping his son when the kick on the rifle thrust the barrel of the gun upward as it fired 20 rounds per second, and struck Christopher in the right side of the head. The jury gasped during the trial as prosecutors played the video showing the moment the boy died. Christopher's father was on the stand at the time and closed his eyed while the video was played.

Prosecutors said they didn't charge Charles Bizilj because people who should have known that firing the gun was too dangerous had influenced his decision to let his son fire the Uzi.

Charles Bizilj, who signed a liability waiver before the shooting, testified that he thought the expo would be well-supervised and safe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dad Twice Told Uzi Too Powerful for Young Son

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WESTFIELD, Mass.) -- The teenager who worked at a gun show where eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally killed himself while shooting an Uzi testified Friday he twice suggested the boy's father pick a less powerful weapon for the boy to shoot.

But Christopher's father, Dr. Charles Bizilj, insisted his son be allowed to fire the automatic weapon, Michael Spano told the court. Spano, who was 15 at the time of the 2008 Massachusetts gun expo, was put in charge of allowing people to fire the 9 mm Micro Uzi, a submachine gun that fires 20 rounds a second.

Former Pelham, Mass., Police Chief Edward Fleury is on trial for the boy's death. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.

The most dramatic moment of the trial came Thursday when the court watched video recorded by Charles Bizilj of the boy handling the gun. The father, who was on the stand at the time, closed his eyes as the video showed the boy struggling to handle the guns' recoil. The barrel reared up and shot the boy in the head. The court room gasped and the boy's mother left the courtroom in tears.

During Spano's testimony Friday, he said he warned Christopher's father about the gun prior to giving it to Christopher. Initially, Spano offered Christopher a gun that shot only one round at a time, but Dr. Bizilj asked him to give his son a fully automatic weapon that would shoot continuously, Spano said.

The teenager said he suggested for a second time that a non-automatic weapon would be better for the boy, but the father dismissed his concern.

Spano is the son of Domenico Spano, who is also charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in providing the guns at the expo. A third man, Carl Guiffre, faces identical charges. Both men have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dad Can't Watch as Court Plays His Video of Son's Uzi Tragedy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WESTFIELD, Mass.) -- A Connecticut doctor closed his eyes today when a court played a video that he filmed of his eight-year-old son shooting a powerful Uzi submachine gun that recoiled and shot the boy in the head, killing him.

The mother of eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj left the room in tears.

The 2008 tragedy occurred in Massachusetts when Christopher was handed a 9mm Micro Uzi submachine gun to fire during a gun expo he attended with his family. Former Pelham police chief Edward Fleury, who organized the event, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.

The nightmarish scene had been videotaped by the boy's father, Dr. Charles Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., who was on the stand when the video was played. He closed his eyes as the video as shown.

People in the courtroom gasped as the shots rang out, clearly showing the moment when the boy starts to fire, but is unable to handle the gun's strong recoil. The automatic weapon keeps firing as the gun barrel rears up and shoots Christopher in the right side of the head.

The father testified earlier that he was videotaping his son firing the gun when the boy disappeared from the viewfinder.

Video was also shown of Christopher's 11-year-old brother Colin firing the gun before it was handed to him. Other children were also firing automatic weapons at the expo.

Gary Hobaica, a friend of the victim's father, testified in the morning. He said the father, Charles Bizilj, selected the machine guns and ammunition for his children to fire. The group had been viewing people shoot machine guns for several hours and it appeared safe, Hobaica said.

Fleury's attorney, Rosemary Curran Scapicchio, told ABC News that it was a difficult day in court, describing the court room as packed and very tense.

"You're always going to be distraught when you have to look at that video," she said. "You can't help but feel sadness for the family and for the poor boy when you watch it. I think that the video that was unnecessary and inflammatory."

Scapicchio maintains, however, that the former police chief did nothing illegal and should not be held responsible. She pointed out that Christopher's father and dozens of event volunteers had multiple opportunities to intervene and did nothing.

Also awaiting trial on involuntary manslaughter charges are Carl Giuffre of Hartford and Domenico Spano of New Milford who supplied the guns. They have pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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