A science teacher in New York who shot and killed his wife by accident last year while cleaning his gun has avoided jail time, with a judge sentencing him this week to probation instead.
Eric Rosenbrock, 36, was sentenced to five years of probation on Monday after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in September in accordance with a plea deal that saw him avoid time behind bars, the Albany Times Union reports. He initially faced between one and 15 years in prison for his wife’s death.
Rosenbrock is alleged to have been getting ready for a hunting trip when his gun went off, fatally wounding Ashley Rosenbrock in the torso on Nov. 15, 2018, according to the outlet. Rosenbrock was watching television while cleaning the loaded weapon in the couple’s home in Corinth when the mishap occurred, the outlet reports. She was 36 years old.
During Rosenbrock’s sentencing, Saratoga County Judge James A. Murphy III pointed out that there are “far more reasonable ways” to clean a firearm than doing so while others are present in the home, according to the Times Union.
“These are common sense things to think about, but for some reason at the time that was not going through your head,” he said. “So unfortunately, you appear here today in this very strange circumstance, having not intended the consequences, but being held responsible for the conduct.”
The couple had three children together, aged 2, 5, and 10, The Glens Falls Post Star reports.
The victim’s mother, Lorraine Tefft, said during a victim impact statement on Monday that her grandchildren sometimes say “I want Mommy” when being put to bed, according to the outlet. However, despite her grief, she has stood by her son-in-law, who’d been married to her daughter for 11 years, and said that what happened “was not a crime,” but instead described it as “an accident.”
“I am so sad Ashley and Eric’s story ended this way. It shouldn’t have,” Tefft said.
Rosenbrock, who was reportedly brought to tears at times during Tefft’s statement, did not speak during his sentencing, instead telling the court that he’d arranged to speak to his loved ones privately following the proceedings, according to The Post Star.
In the event that Rosenbrock violates his probation, he will be subject to a maximum of four years in prison, the paper reports.
Rosenbrock taught science at Lake George High School, according to the Times Union. Following his wife’s death, the Lake George school district placed him on administrative leave; he was allowed to return to his position that January, but was placed on leave again that summer, according to The Post-Star. He has reportedly been allowed to retain his teaching license pending a review by the state’s Education Department.
Ashley Rosenbrock’s death came after tragedy had already befallen the family years prior. Their second child, a 1-year-old girl, died of sepsis pneumonia in 2013, according to the Times Union.
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