Man who blew hole in floor ready to deal

DECATUR — The Decatur man who says he was preparing a shotgun for home defense — and ended up blowing a hole through his apartment floor and narrowly missing his downstairs neighbor — looks ready to do a plea deal with prosecutors.

Demitchell I. Leonard, 26, faces a charge of the reckless discharge of a firearm for the incident, which happened just after 1 a.m. Dec. 2 at an apartment house in the 3100 block of North Beth Boulevard.

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The defendant appeared Jan. 3 in Macon County Circuit Court and entered a not guilty plea. But the court record now shows the case is set for a “disposition hearing” on Feb. 2. Dispositions usually dispose of charges with a guilty plea involving an agreed penalty negotiated between defense and prosecution lawyers.

A sworn affidavit filed by Decatur police said cops arrived to find Leonard in a state of “erratic behavior and speaking fast.” The affidavit added: “Officers heard Demitchell make statements like ‘I wasn’t trying to kill nobody’ and ‘It was only an accident.’ Officers observed a defect in the floor near the front door to be consistent with a shotgun round.”

The 66-year-old downstairs neighbor, meanwhile, told police he had been just four feet away when the shotgun blast ripped through his ceiling. He was not listed as being injured.

Leonard claimed the 12-gauge pump shotgun involved belonged to his absent roommate. “Demitchell stated that he was attempting to place the shotgun against the wall for home defense when it accidentally discharged,” the affidavit said.

Leonard was arrested that night but was freed from custody Dec. 4 after Judge Lindsey Shelton released him under the new no cash bail law. His release conditions order him to refrain from drinking alcohol and using drugs and warned him not to touch any “firearm or other dangerous weapon.”

A man has died after a dog stepped on a rifle and shot him from the rear of a truck in the state of Kansas. 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid