'We were playing Russian roulette': Windsor man admits to killing his best friend
A judge has accepted a guilty plea into the shooting death of a Windsor man back in March 2017.
In Superior Court Tuesday, William Green, 58, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Michael Holmberg, 59.
“It’s a horrible situation,” defence lawyer Dan Scott told the media outside the courthouse. “These guys were drunk.”
Assistant crown attorney Jennifer Holmes read in an Agreed Statement of Facts for the court about what happened.
Court heard on the evening of March 17, into the 18th, Green and Holmberg were drinking together at a home on Elsmere Avenue in Windsor.
Green has admitted he consumed a “considerable” amount of alcohol that day, before continuing to drink when Holmberg arrived at his house.
“Holmberg brought the handgun to the party,” according to Scott. “There were statements in the disclosure that suggested that this was not their first time wandering down the path of playing Russian roulette.”
Court heard the men would take turns spinning the chamber on the revolver and then raising the gun to their heads.
Holmes says Green took the weapon from Holmberg and instead of spinning the chamber, the firearm was discharged.
Court heard Holmberg was shot “all in one bullet track” which went through his left arm, and stopped in his torso.
The weapon, according to Holmes, was a short-barrel black revolver, Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which is a prohibited gun.
Police were called just after midnight, for a “report of a person shot.”
When police got there, Green was on the front porch holding a cellphone and he advised officers Holmberg was inside on the couch.
“He shot himself,” Green told police. “We were playing Russian Roulette.”
Holmberg was pronounced dead at hospital at 5:55 a.m., and court heard Green was arrested and charged with murder at 7:23 a.m.
Green was facing five offences including second degree murder, possession of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, careless use and storage of a firearm and assault.
He pleaded not guilty before Justice Bruce Thomas, and then pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
“Intoxication reduces murder to manslaughter,” says Scott. “Its incorporated in the code (Criminal Code of Canada). Because if you’re intoxicated, you can’t form the intent that’s required to commit murder.”
Justice Thomas will hear sentencing submissions on Jan. 10.
“I’m asking for five years,” says Scott.
Green has been on house arrest since he got bail in April 2017.
“There’s some law to suggest that because his liberty was restricted he’ll get credit for it,” Scott says.
Holmes declined to comment Tuesday.