DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, FL-The woman who killed a former West Jefferson man in August won’t be charged in the shooting.
That’s according to the Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department, who said no criminal charges will be filed in the Aug. 20, fatal shooting that claimed the life of Robert F. Branton, 31. Daytona Beach Shores is a small community just south of Daytona Beach, Fl.
The department said last week that Daytona Beach Shores Detective Jessica Long recently finished a four-month investigation into the circumstances surrounding Branton’s death, which became international news this fall after 911 audio of the incident was released.
Early on the morning of Aug. 20, Branton was showing his live-in girlfriend Katie L. Begtrup, 24, how to use a shotgun to defend herself in case an intruder came into the couple’s South Atlantic Avenue apartment, according to the department.
“Branton had Begtrup repeatedly dry fire the unloaded weapon and act out scenarios,” according to a release from Sgt. Mike Fowler, a Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department Public Information Officer.
After roughly 10 minutes, Begtrup left the room to change her clothes, according to the release.
“A short time later Begtrup re-entered the room and Branton told her to demonstrate how she would use the shotgun against him if he was an intruder,” according to the release. “As she had previously done, she raised the gun and pulled the trigger, although this time it fired, fatally striking Branton in the leg.”
Begtrup told investigators she had no idea when Branton had loaded the weapon, and said she had never before handled a firearm prior to the incident.
Long was able to corroborate Begtrup’s account of the incident and determined the shooting was accidental, and the department said Begtrup fully cooperative throughout the investigation.
“Our investigators looked at every bit of evidence available and found that the facts did not fit any criminal charges,” Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Director Stephan Dembinsky said. “This was certainly a tragic case, but in the end, it was not a criminal case.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.