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Wed, Nov. 20

Guilty plea for man in fatal front-door shooting

Peter Downing

Peter Downing

PRESCOTT - A man who fatally shot an intoxicated man that came to his front door accepted a plea deal Tuesday for negligent homicide and could serve 15 years or more in prison.

Peter Downing, 56, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon as a prohibited possessor in March. He is accused of killing Brett Huggins, 40, who appeared at the front door of his home in the 6300 block of Copper Hill Drive.

Huggins, according to a witness, knocked once, Downing opened the door, Huggins took a step inside, and Downing fired a shot. The witness called 911 and, while on the phone with dispatch, said he saw Downing walk outside and kick open his own door.

Downing told deputies he didn't know Huggins and acknowledged that he noticed Huggins was not holding a weapon.

Tuesday in court, Downing pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and misconduct with a weapon by a prohibited possessor.

Downing's attorney, Alex Harris gave a slightly different version of the events surrounding the shooting. She said Downing was asleep and was awakened by Huggins at the door. He got out of bed, took the rifle with him, and went to the door.

"Huggins burst into the house," she said, "and he (Downing) raised the gun up and it discharged."

Deputy County Attorney Steven Sisneros said Huggins may have crossed the threshold, but he had no weapons and was intoxicated.

Downing could face up to 15 years in prison on the homicide charge and 3.75 years for the weapons charge.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

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