SHOSHONE — A local man who accidentally shot and killed his daughter has pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Johnathan Pugh, 61, entered a guilty plea the morning of Nov. 9, weeks before a jury trial was scheduled to begin. He was charged in May after shooting his daughter, 36-year-old Malani Lang.
Pugh and Lang had recently reunited, according to court documents, and Lang had moved in with Pugh a week before the May 9 shooting.
“I was very proud of her for the way things had started to go,” Pugh said through tears at a court hearing Friday. “I had prayed for this all my life.”
Pugh told the court that a man had brought the pistol to Pugh’s saddle shop in Shoshone earlier that night and asked if he could use it as partial payment on a saddle.
As the night went on, Pugh drank four alcoholic drinks and smoked marijuana with Lang, he said. Later, the two of them got into an argument about Lang being put up for adoption as a child and Lang backed Pugh into a corner, Pugh told the court.
Pugh said he held the pistol up to his own head and asked his daughter, “Is this what you want?” before the gun went off and shot Lang in the head. He said he did not pull the trigger.
“I thought it was empty and I just wanted to make a statement,” Pugh told the court.
A bartender at the Iron Horse Saloon called police after Pugh ran into the bar covered in blood and asking for an ambulance, according to court documents. Police said when they arrived at Pugh’s store, they found Pugh lying on top of Lang, sobbing.
She was flown to Portneuf Hospital, where she died.
“I have nightmares almost every night,” Pugh said Friday. “I’ve witnessed and lived it over and over.”
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 10.