TWIN FALLS — A Twin Falls man who was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter for accidentally killing his roommate, a woman he considered to be “like a sister,” has been found not guilty.
Brandon Osiris Scott Smithson, 26, was acquitted after a jury trial last week, according to court records. He had been charged for shooting and killing Katrina Budden, 20, with a shotgun while he was showing the weapon to two neighbors in his and Budden’s apartment on Second Avenue North in January.
One form of involuntary manslaughter in Idaho is defined as killing a person “in the operation of any firearm or deadly weapon in a reckless, careless or negligent manner...”
Smithson had believed the gun, which belonged to another roommate, to be empty. His lawyer, Chief Deputy Public Defender Ben Andersen, argued in court at a preliminary hearing in February that what happened was a “tragic accident” but not the result of any reckless or felonious action.
“This is a situation where Mr. Smithson’s actions were not based on disregarding a known risk,” Andersen said at the February hearing. “He apparently misunderstood how guns worked, thought it was not loaded and it ended up discharging. But there was no waving a gun around, being reckless and inconsiderate … It’s simply an accident.”
Andersen didn’t return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The case is now over, County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs said.
“There’s nothing we can do other than what we did,” he said. “We presented the evidence to the jury and the jury found him not guilty.”
During a previous hearing, a police detective testified that Smithson checked the guns daily to ensure they wouldn’t accidentally discharge around his child.
But on Jan. 19, as Smithson showed an AR-15 rifle and 12-guage shotgun to a neighbor couple, he pulled the trigger on the shotgun, the neighbors testified during the preliminary hearing. Budden was struck in the face and knocked off her chair.