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Judge Peter A. Velis ruled that jurors can see video of an 8-year-old boy accidently shooting himself with an Uzi at a gun show. The Springfield, Massachusetts judge ruled that the Uzi death video is relevant to the manslaughter trial of Edward Fleury, a former police chief that organized the event.
The judge has not decided yet whether to allow audio from the video as well. The video was filmed by the father of the boy. In the audio, Christopher Bizilj, the boy who died, is heard screaming while his father is praying.
The judge has said making sure that Fleury receives a fair trial is the most important consideration. Jury selection is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.
Video is going to end up in courtrooms with increasing frequency, trial consultant Douglas L. Keene told The New York Times. "It obviously doesn't happen in your average case, but with the advancements in surveillance and technology it's inevitably going to be more common," Keene said. "Fortunately for justice these videos are available, and unfortunately for jurors they're going to have to weigh the importance of them as evidence."
According to prosecutors, Bizilj shot himself in the head after firing a 9-millimeter Micro Uzi submachine gun. Bizilj and his father were at the 2008 Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo in Westfield, Massachusetts. The father apparently selected the Uzi for his son to fire because he believed it would be safer due to its small size. However according to district attorney William M. Bennett, the smaller gun actually presented a greater danger than a larger one.
Massachusetts gun law allows children under 18 to fire most guns if they have the consent of their parents. However, children may not shoot machine guns. Fleury is charged with involuntary manslaughter and three counts of furnishing a firearm to a minor in the Uzi death. In addition, two men from Connecticut and the gun club were charged in the case, reports The New York Times.