RENO, Nev. » A Nevada man accused of shooting a golfer who broke a window at his home with an errant ball has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.
Jeff Fleming of Reno entered the plea to battery with a deadly weapon on Thursday in Washoe County District Court. He faces from probation to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine when he’s sentenced Dec. 12.
The golfer was unable to find his ball and was doing a drop shot on the 16th hole of the Lakeridge Golf Course in September 2012 when Fleming approached and fired a single shot at him with a shotgun, prosecutors said. The golfer was treated for minor injuries to an arm and both legs at a hospital.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Neahusan said neighbors along the golf course were stunned as it’s common for stray golf balls to hit their homes.
"Live on a golf course and you got to expect your house to get hit every once in a while," he told The Associated Press. "This (shooting) is one of those stories that you just can’t make it up."
Neahusan said he’s unsure what motivated the shooting and referred queries about Fleming’s mental state to his lawyer, Larry Dunn.
Dunn did not immediately return phone calls.
Fleming, 53, has expressed remorse and shock over his reaction to the broken window, Neahusan said, adding he apparently has no felony criminal record.
"I’m not sure what was going on, but from what I’ve read and heard, it definitely sounds out of character," the prosecutor said.
In return for Fleming’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop an assault with a deadly weapon charge and to go along with the Division of Parole and Probation’s recommended sentence for him.
Police said the golfer and his partner ran away after the shot was fired and it wasn’t until they were safe that the golfer realized he had been hit. One or two shotgun pellets had to be removed from his body at the hospital.
The area around the 16th hole was evacuated after the shooting. Fleming drove to his attorney’s office, where he surrendered without incident.