Marion R. Yoder, 28, of Fredericksburg, Ohio, cooperated with authorities after it was determined the bullet from the muzzleloader he fired into the air while cleaning it last December came down and struck Rachel Yoder, 15, on the top of the head as she drove a buggy home.
Marion Yoder's home is 1.1 miles from the site where Rachel Yoder's father found her in the road with a head injury. (Marion Yoder and Rachel Yoder are of no relation.) She was taken to Akron City Hospital and died.
Hospital workers found the bullet lodged in Rachel Yoder's head and notified authorities. As police investigated the freak incident, Marion Yoder came forward and admitted he had fired a gun in the air while cleaning it, never thinking it would kill someone.
Marion Yoder pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and will serve 30 days in jail and three years probation. A judge also mandated he attend a firearm safety course and Yoder forfeited the muzzleloader, The (Woosten) Daily Record reported.
Prosecutor Steve Knowling said the incident should serve as a lesson about gun safety.
"It's a cautionary tale in the first degree," he said. "It doesn't happen often. It is one in a million, but Rachel Yoder died because that one in a million shot came home."