TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man negligently and drunkenly fired the gunshot that fatally wounded his girlfriend, but authorities said they can’t prove he intended to kill her.
Robert Lee-Allen Caldwell, 33, told police that on Nov. 19 he drank alcohol and loaded a .45-caliber pistol owned by his girlfriend, Monica June Anderson, 28, with the intent to kill himself. He held the gun to his forehead as he sat at the bottom of their Aero Park Drive apartment’s staircase, but said he flinched and the gun fired, missing him and instead striking and mortally wounding Anderson.
Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said a “thorough” investigation completed in late December led him to charge Caldwell on Monday with involuntary manslaughter, discharge of a firearm under the influence causing death, felony firearm and resisting and obstructing a police officer.
“We took our time in charging because wanted to make sure we looked through all the evidence and follow-up investigation,” Cooney said.
The manslaughter and discharge charges carry penalties of up to 15 years in prison.
The Anderson family sent a statement to the Record-Eagle in which they disagreed with the charging decision.
“We are not satisfied with the charges but these charges are what the officials deem adequate to charge him with. We are saddened and hurt by these minimal charges and does not do our daughter, her children, or our family justice,” the statement said.
The police report states that officers arrived to find Caldwell with a gun in his hand. He refused to drop the weapon and placed it to his head and in his mouth while pleading for them to help Anderson, who lay dead at the bottom of the stairs.
Caldwell then put a round into the gun and shot himself in the hand before police subdued him, the report states.