July 21st, 2024

Woman who accidently shot man during altercation sent to jail

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 15, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman who accidently shot a man during a scuffle a year ago has been sent to a federal penitentiary.

Kristina Hatcher, who pleaded guilty this week in Lethbridge court of justice to charges of aggravated assault and using a firearm while committing an offence, was sentenced to more than three years in prison. She was, however, given credit for just over 16 months she spent in custody after she was arrested, leaving her with just over two years to serve.

In March of last year Hatcher, 39, was living on the street and had been invited by a friend to live in the basement of his home. That arrangement didn’t last long after Hatcher discovered the man had an ulterior motive for inviting her to live with him and hoped to develop a relationship.

“Miss Hatcher did not have much inclination to be in an amorous relationship,” Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles told court.

On March 19 Hatcher, with the help of another man, began removing some of her belongings from the house, which upset the homeowner. Hatcher and the man subsequently left the residence, but returned the next day to finish moving while the owner was not home.

They parked a block away and “surreptitiously” entered the house, hoping to avoid a confrontation, but while they were gathering Hatcher’s belongings, the homeowner returned.

The owner is again upset, but Hatcher is prepared for a confrontation.

“Miss Hatcher has arrived, this time, in possession of a firearm,” Giles said.

Hatcher “forcefully” approached the man, told him she was leaving and accused him of taking advantage of her.

“There was a scuffle, and she shot him.”

Giles pointed out, however, the shooting may not have been intentional, but the gun went off while Hatcher was “in the course of an assault.”

Hatcher and the other man fled, but left the victim lying on the floor with a .22-calibre bullet lodged in his spine. Doctors did not remove the bullet, for fear it would jeopardize the patient’s health more than if it was left alone.

Police found Hatcher and another “male companion” two days later in a motor vehicle. There was also a rifle in the vehicle, but it was not the gun used to shoot the victim. The victim, Giles pointed out, died last December, but not from the bullet wound.

Calgary lawyer John Oman told court his client, who has only lived in Lethbridge for about a year, has been living the on the streets and suffers from some mental health issues and an addiction to methamphetamine.

He said the man at whose home Hatcher was living, while helping her to some extent, was often violent.

“Near the time of this event, or very close to it, she was wanting to leave his residence,” Oman said. “She advises me that he was aggressive and controlling at that time, and actually physically assaulted her briefly.”

Oman noted that the other man who was with Hatcher provided the gun, which may have come from a batch of firearms stolen around that time from a rural area near Barons.

“She certainly wasn’t involved in that, and she advises me that he provided her with some form of firearm. She advises me that she has absolutely no familiarity with firearms.”

In addition to her sentence, Hatcher must provide a sample of her DNA, and she is prohibited from possessing weapons for 10 years. Additional charges of assault with a weapon, assault by choking or strangling, theft of a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm with intent, careless use of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, were withdrawn.

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