Charges dropped against other 2 in Uzi death of 8-year-old

By Dave Collins
Associated Press / January 19, 2011

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Citing last week’s acquittal of a third defendant, a prosecutor dropped involuntary manslaughter charges yesterday against two men in the death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself with an Uzi at a 2008 gun show.

Prosecutor William Bennett filed not-prosecuting motions in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield in the cases of Domenico Spano of New Milford, Conn., and Carl Giuffre of West Hartford, Conn.

A jury acquitted former Pelham police chief Edward Fleury on Friday of involuntary manslaughter and furnishing machine guns to minors in the death of Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn. Fleury’s firearms training company cosponsored the gun show.

“As a result, the Commonwealth does not believe further prosecution is in the interests of justice,’’ Bennett wrote in the two motions. He said that Spano and Giuffre’s conduct was similar to Fleury’s.

Bizilj was firing a 9mm micro Uzi at some pumpkins at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, about 10 miles west of Springfield, when it kicked back and shot him once in the head on Oct. 26, 2008.

Spano and Giuffre were machine gun license holders who brought the automatic weapons to the gun fair. Bennett had argued that the reckless actions of Fleury, Spano, and Giuffre led to the boy’s death.

Giuffre’s lawyer, Stephen Phillips, said he agreed with Bennett’s decision to drop the cases. He has maintained that Giuffre was not responsible for Christopher’s death.

“This was a horrific, tragic accident, certainly nothing more than that,’’ Phillips said yesterday. “My client is relieved that this dark cloud which has been looming over him for the past two years has finally been lifted.’’

Thomas Rooke, Spano’s lawyer, had a similar response.

“Mr. Spano is very relieved that this two-year ordeal is now behind him,’’ Rooke said.

No one else was charged in the case.

Fleury’s lawyer, Rosemary Curran Scapicchio, blamed the father, Dr. Charles Bizilj, for letting his son shoot such a dangerous weapon and said that he signed a waiver acknowledging the risks, including death, and absolving anyone of liability if something happened.

Scapicchio also said during the trial that Spano’s then-15-year-old son was supervising the boy when the accident happened, despite not having a firearms license or certification.

Charles and Suzanne Bizilj, who divorced last July, filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and wrongful death against the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, Fleury, Spano, and Giuffre.

It was settled last month for about $700,000.