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Lawyer for Ohio woman charged in fatal Manchester shooting says it was an accident

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 23. 2018 3:26PM
Jorjianna Rittenhour of McGuffey, Ohio, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of negligent homicide. (COURTESY)

Crime-scene tape blocks off 22 Bridge St. in Manchester, where police detectives are investigating an untimely death Wednesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Jorjianna Rittenhour was in town to comfort a friend who had recently lost a family member when she fatally shot a man with his own gun early Wednesday morning in what her defense attorney described as an accident.

The 32-year-old was preparing to head back to her home in McGuffey, Ohio, a prosecutor said, but about 1:40 a.m. Wednesday she called 911 to report a shooting inside a Bridge Street building, where officers found a 37-year-old man dead.

Police have not identified the victim; it was not immediately clear whether he was the friend Rittenhour was in New Hampshire to see. Rittenhour has been charged with negligent homicide.

Assistant County Attorney Patrice Casian said Rittenhour told police she was looking through a red dot scope on the victim’s Glock pistol while he was lying on a couch. She turned the gun toward him and pulled the trigger, Casian said, adding that the incident remains under investigation and police have not yet interviewed two potential witnesses.

One witness told officers she heard a woman and man yelling and that the woman said “What are we going to do?” according to Casian.

Rittenhour’s public defender, Shelagh O’Donnell, told the judge that the victim told Rittenhour to “tap the trigger to see what happens with the red light” and that Rittenhour believed from the victim’s previous statements that the gun was not loaded.

A Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge granted the prosecution’s request to hold Rittenhour on $100,000 cash bail, and ordered her to surrender her passport and stay away from drugs, alcohol, and firearms. Rittenhour also was ordered not to leave the state if she makes bail.

O’Donnell had requested $20,000 cash bail and said that her client had ties to the area and did not present a danger to the community.

Judge Gillian Abramson appeared convinced by the prosecution’s rundown of Rittenhour’s past offenses, which include multiple convictions for operating under the influence, shoplifting, simple assault, and drug possession in New Hampshire and Massachusetts between 2005 and 2012.

On several occasions, Rittenhour failed to appear for court hearings or pay restitution, Casian said.

Rittenhour was born in Massachusetts and spent much of her life in northern New England, the assistant county attorney said.

Public Safety Manchester

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