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Dave Roepke, Published July 10 2010

Three-year sentence for fatal shooting

A man who was trying to retrieve his gun at a party as it fired, killing a 29-year-old woman, was sentenced Friday to a little more than three years in prison.

Devin Edward Gray, 24, had pleaded guilty in Otter Tail County District Court on May 17 to a manslaughter charge in connection with the fatal shooting.

Gray brought a handgun to a party in a Fergus Falls, Minn., mobile home park on Feb. 26, where Amanda Kemmer took it from him, authorities said. Gray told Kemmer’s sister after the shooting that Kemmer took the gun from him because he tried to commit suicide, according to court records.

Later in the evening, the victim agreed to give the gun back to Gray. But as she was giving it back, the firearm went off, striking her with a fatal shot to the chest, according to a police report filed with charges.

Police said there wasn’t any evidence that the gunshot was intentional. Gray and Kemmer were the only two people in the room when the gun fired, witnesses said. Gun powder residue was found on his left hand after the shooting, police said in court records.

Gray was given a three-year, five-month sentence in the state prison but was given credit for 131 days he’s spent in jail since his arrest on March 1.

Joe Parise, an attorney for Gray, said the sentence was a plea agreement and on the low end of the state sentencing guidelines.

Kemmer’s father spoke at the Friday hearing and was dismayed Gray didn’t get a longer stint in prison for his daughter’s death. Other family members also gave statements to the court, the defense attorney said.

“They’re viewing this as murder,” Parise said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535