Rochester minister pleads guilty to shooting granddaughter - KMSP-TV

Rochester minister pleads guilty to shooting granddaughter

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) -

A Rochester minister who shot his granddaughter after mistaking her for an intruder pleaded guilty to a felony charge on Monday and will be sentenced in April.

Stanley Warren Wilkinson, 61, was charged with one count of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Wilkinson will be sentenced on April 15. 

Wilkinson, a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, told police he grabbed his pistol after hearing a noise outside his house Dec. 10 and fired two rounds after seeing what he thought was someone trying to open the deck door. It turned out to be his 16-year-old granddaughter, Paige, who was struck once in the neck.

Paige Wilkinson had been living with her grandparents and told police she left the house to smoke without telling them.

Stanley Wilkinson told police he had been on edge due to a recent break-in nearby, and investigating authorities described him as "distraught" after the shooting.

While some might argue that Wilkinson has been through enough agony without the charge, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem said it was important to prosecute a legal gun owner who admitted pulling the trigger without knowing his target.

"He says he didn't have his glasses on. He says he didn't know who was there. It could have been law enforcement back there," explained Ostrem. "It could have been anybody back there, and he intentionally discharged his firearm."

According to the criminal complaint, Wilkinson admitted that he did not say or yell anything before firing his 9mm handgun, saying he "'just freaked' and fired his gun twice."

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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