PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) _ A 23-year-old Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to shooting and wounding a Louisiana state trooper in 2011 and delivered a tearful apology to the trooper’s family as well as to his own family.
During the apology on Monday, state District Judge Robin Free told William Belniak to go and shake the hand of the trooper he shot in the head as well as of the trooper’s wife.
The Advocate reports Belniak stepped over and shook the hands of State Trooper Kevin Biddy and his wife, who easily accepted the gesture.
Free sentenced Belniak to 28 years in prison with no possibility of parole or probation in the May 4, 2011, shooting of Biddy.
Biddy survived the bullet wound to his head and was released from a hospital less than 12 hours after the incident.
Belniak, of Burlington, Conn., shot Biddy after the state trooper pulled him over on suspicion of drinking while intoxicated about 2:30 a.m. in Port Allen.
According to reports, Belniak resisted arrest during the stop and a fight ensued between the two men.
Biddy was able to call for backup during the struggle.
Belniak broke away from the trooper and ran to his car to retrieve a revolver.
Biddy chased Belniak, and the two struggled over the gun.
During the fight, Belniak fired a round, striking Biddy in the head. The bullet traveled through the trooper’s skin without piercing his skull.
As Biddy lay on the ground, Belniak stood over him, poised to shoot the trooper again when two West Baton Rouge Parish rookie deputies arrived and shot Belniak twice in the midsection.
Free sentenced Belniak from the bench shortly after Biddy’s wife tearfully told Belniak she forgave him for his attempt to murder her husband.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com
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