Man gets 15 years in prison for wife’s death
August 14, 2010
FORT COLLINS, Colorado – A Loveland man who said he accidentally shot his pregnant wife, killing her and their baby, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday.
Branden Burgess, 34, said in Larimer County District court Friday before his sentence that what happened “was unforgivable” and couldn’t bring himself to apologize to the family of his wife, Kelly Burgess. Prosecutors and Kelly Burgess’ family maintained that the October 2009 shooting was intentional and that the couple had a history of domestic violence. The shooting happened in the couple’s garage the night they were celebrating Burgess’ pregnancy. They were living with a 3-year-old son at the time.
Police said Burgess intentionally put the gun to his wife’s head and shot her. Burgess’ sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors. He maintained the shooting was accident and told police the couple was using the gun to pretend to be snipers when it happened.
Burgess’ sentence was the maximum he could’ve received for reckless manslaughter and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
“I don’t blame Kelly’s family for hating me because I hate me,” Branden Burgess said in court. “The second Kelly’s heart stopped, so did mine. I love you Kelly.”
Kelly Burgess was the daughter of Wyoming state Rep. Kathy Davison. In response to her daughter’s death, Davison introduced state legislation this year that she said she hoped would prevent violence against pregnant women.
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One bill was to enhance the penalty in some cases when a person is convicted of killing a pregnant woman. The other bill would make a person lose their parental rights to surviving children if they were convicted of killing their spouse.