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A former police officer has pleaded guilty in relation to the shooting death of a fellow cop who was killed during a game of Russian roulette last year and is set to serve nearly a decade in prison.
Nathaniel Hendren, a 30-year-old resident of St. Louis, Missouri, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the 2019 death of fellow police officer Katlyn Alix, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Hendren’s plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors wherein Hendren pleaded guilty in exchange for serving concurrent sentences of seven years for the manslaughter charge and three years for armed criminal action, according to the paper.
Hendren and Alix, a 24-year-old officer who was off-duty at the time, were playing with a gun in Hendren’s home in Carondelet prior to her death last January; Hendren had removed all but one bullet from a revolver and the two were taking turns shooting at each other, a statement of probable cause obtained by the Post-Dispatch states. Hendren first pointed the gun away and pulled the trigger and it did not fire. Alix then took the gun, pointed it at Hendren and pulled the trigger, and again, it did not fire. However, when Hendren took the gun again, pointing it at Alix and pulling he trigger, the gun discharged, striking Alix in the chest, the paper reports. She was pronounced dead after being transported to a nearby hospital.
A third officer who was present on the day Alix was shot, Patrick Riordan, was not charged, the Post-Dispatch reports. Hendren, however, received the maximum prison sentences for both charges.
Hendren was in a relationship with Alix, who was married, and he loved her, his lawyer claimed on Friday, per the paper’s reports.
Addressing Alix’s family in court on Friday, Hendren said, “I don’t intend to try and explain anyone else’s hurt or make this day any more about me than it already is. I simply wish to express my sincere remorse to this court and to the family of Katlyn Alix, a wonderful woman full of tenacity and self-determination.”
“These actions have no excuse and I will not attempt to look for one. The pain I feel is nothing compared to that of the family of Katlyn,” he continued.
Hendren and Riordan were both on-duty at the time of the shooting, but instead of patrolling their assigned areas, they were alleged to have been drinking that night, according to another report from the Post-Dispatch.
Following Hendren’s guilty plea, the St. Louis circuit attorney's office released a statement confirming his eventual sentence, and mourning Alix’s death.
"The reckless behavior that took place that early morning has left an unfillable void for her grieving husband, her parents, and a host of loving family and friends," circuit attorney Kim Gardner said. "Although there is nothing that the law can do to restore the life of Officer Alix, it can make sure that the person responsible for her senseless death is held accountable for his careless behavior."
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