JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Authorities in North Carolina say a former active-duty Marine will serve prison time for accidentally killing a fellow Marine in a case that had initially been ruled an accidental self-inflected shooting.
News outlets report 30-year-old Tyler Prudden of Portland, Michigan, was sentenced Friday to 14 to 26 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the 2013 death of 22-year-old Lance Cpl. Lanija Gilpatrick.
Assistant District Attorney Bob Roupe says Prudden and his then-wife Lori Green Prudden initially told Onslow County authorities that Gilpatrick shot himself. But an anonymous Facebook message to Gilpatrick’s mother, Nancy Patterson, prompted authorities to reopen the case.
Patterson received an anonymous Facebook message telling her that her son did not shoot himself, The Daily News in Jacksonville reported. "Tyler shot him.” said the message, which was later traced to Michigan, where Prudden’s ex-wife lived, the newswpaper reported.
“Officially, she denied that she was the one that sent it,” Roupe told The Daily News, but she cooperated when questioned by law enforcement.
Roupe says Prudden later admitted to pointing a gun he thought was empty at Gilpatrick and firing, shooting him in the eye.
He pleaded guilty in September.