Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in Bonney Lake stray bullet shooting
TACOMA , Wash. - A Bonney Lake man pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter Monday in the death of a woman who was killed by a stray bullet he fired toward a thief who stole his Jeep last November.
Tobin Panton, 40, fired a gun at his stolen Jeep late Nov. 3, 2016, from the front porch of his home in the 2300 block of Prairie Ridge Drive East in Bonney Lake as the thief was driving away. Court documents say Panton fired until his .40-caliber Glock pistol was empty.
Court documents say one of the bullets went through a window in the home of Linda Green, 61, about two blocks away. She was shot in the head and was killed.
Family members later said Green had been laying in bed watching TV and doing a crossword puzzle when she was struck by a bullet from Panton's gun.
"Officers located a bullet hole in Ms. Green’s window that faces Mr. Panton’s porch, where he discharged his handgun. Detectives were able to locate several strike marks, consistent with gunshots from Mr. Panton’s porch, in the area of Ms. Green and her neighbor’s house, which is consistent with Mr. Panton’s description of firing towards his moving vehicle," court documents said.
The stolen Jeep was later found abandoned a mile away with the rear window shot out. But the car thief, who started the whole tragic chain of events, was nowhere to be found.
Panton is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8 in Pierce County Superior Court, according to the prosecutor's office.