NORMAN — A Cleveland County jury deliberated about four hours Tuesday before convicting an Oklahoma City man of first-degree manslaughter.
Cole Dean Hopper, 21, was found guilty of recklessly handling a firearm and accidentally shooting Kelsey Bransby, 19, on Oct. 27, 2011, at Bransby's apartment at 3040 SW 89. Bransby died the next day of a gunshot wound to her face.
Jurors recommended that Hopper serve nine years in prison for his role in Bransby's death. District Judge Tracy Schumacher set sentencing for 1:30 p.m. June 28.
Bransby's roommate, Danielle Cooley, testified in the trial that she was in the room when Bransby was shot but that she didn't actually see it happen. She said Hopper and Bransby had been “playing around” when she heard a gun go off. When she looked, Bransby had been shot.
Cooley said she and Hopper “panicked” and fled the apartment without calling 911. She said that she and Bransby had been doing drugs before the shooting.
Cooley and Hopper were later arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with Bransby's death. Prior to trial, Hopper's charge was amended to first-degree manslaughter, and Cooley pleaded guilty to accessory to murder. She is serving a 25-year suspended sentence.
Assistant District Attorney Christy Miller had asked jurors to recommend a 19-year prison sentence for Hopper. Miller said Hopper caused the woman's death by recklessly handling a firearm and by not seeking medical help for her after she was shot.
Hopper did not testify in the trial but maintained to police that he did not shoot Bransby.
Defense attorney David Smith said evidence was inconclusive as to how the woman was shot. She could have accidentally shot herself, he said.