A 21-year-old from Hampton Bays was arrested late last month in connection to the shooting death of a fellow Boise State University student last summer.
Following a nearly year-long investigation, Kyle Kelly was charged with involuntary manslaughter. According to the Idaho Press, Kelly accidentally shot Robert Eugene Skinner, 22, in the neck.
Skinner, a university club hockey player from Seattle, suffered what Boise police initially described as an unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wound on August 23, 2019, inside a house near the university at 2:45 a.m. “After further investigation, officers discovered information that the gunshot was not self-inflicted. The shooting still appears to be unintentional but criminal charges are possible,” police said in a press release last year.
Detectives from the Boise Police Violent Crimes Unit and Boise Police Department Crime Lab completed its investigation and sent it to the Ada County prosecutor to review possible charges. An arrest warrant was issued for Kelly in July.
Mark Manweiler, Kelly’s attorney, said during a court hearing July 30 that his client and Skinner were friends, according to the Idaho Press. Along with Kelly’s three roommates, they had gone out drinking on August 22, and went back to Kelly’s place, he told the judge. One of Kelly’s roommates showed them guns he owned, including, a semiautomatic handgun and a shotgun.
Manweiler said his client knew nothing about guns and had never fired one before. “He had not taken any kind of safety classes, and was basically a neophyte when it came to handling firearms,” The Idaho Press reported him saying. Manweiler declined to speak to IndyEastEnd.com.
The attorney admitted that Kelly dry-fired the pistol with the clip removed after the roommate did and then placed the gun on a bed next to Skinner. The roommate left the room and, apparently, put the clip back in the gun. “He didn’t say anything to Kyle or Bobby about doing that,” Manweiler said, the Press reported.
Kelly picked up the gun and tried to dry-fire again, but a bullet discharged and struck Skinner in the neck. Manweiler said his client tried to help Skinner after the shooting. However, he lied to police, saying Skinner shot himself, though he changed his story later.
Kelly’s bond was initially set at $500,000, and despite a request from the prosecutor that it remain at that amount, a judge reduced it to $150,000, the Ada County prosecutor’s office said.
According to Kelly’s LinkedIn account, he became a student at Boise State University in 2017 and was set to graduate in 2021.
Skinner’s parents hope to change gun laws in Idaho. “It’s crazy to have kids, college kids with guns there’s no need for it and then when you mix alcohol into the equation, it’s just insane,” the victim’s father, Robert Skinner, told KTVB7 after a ceremonial puck drop at an Idaho Steelheads game in remembrance of their son just two months after his death.