A New Hampshire man is dead and an Ohio woman is behind bars, charged with negligent homicide in connection with his death.
Jorjianna Rittenhour, 32, of McGuffey, broke down in tears several times as she faced a judge Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester.
Prosecutors say when police responded to a Bridge Street apartment at about 1:40 a.m Wednesday, Rittenhour told them the accident happened when she was playing with the victim’s gun. That victim was later identified as Steven Asselin, of Manchester.
“She was pointing it in his direction, put her finger on the trigger, and fired the gun,” said Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Patrice Casian. “It subsequently struck the victim in the head and it was a fatal wound.”
Casian told the judge she’s not convinced this was an accident and that more witnesses need to be interviewed.
“There were two other individuals inside the apartment at the time that haven’t been questioned,” Casian said. “This is a pending investigation and there is potential for other charges to arise.”
Defense Attorney Shelagh O’Donnell argued that her client was led to believe the gun wasn’t loaded.
“The report indicates she was told to tap the trigger to see what happened to the red light and that the gun went off,” O’Donnell told the judge.
O’Donnell said Rittenhour’s cooperation after the fatal shooting is proof it was all a tragic accident.
“Ms. Rittenhour was waiting on scene for the police and she was, in fact, the one who called 911 to have police come to the residence,” O’Donnell said.
Rittenhour is currently a legal resident of Ohio but has been staying in New Hampshire with friends.
She was ordered to be held on $100,000 bail and was found to be a danger to the community. Rittenhour sobbed as she was escorted out of court.