OGDEN -- Just before handing down a prison sentence, a judge had soothing words for the man convicted of fatally shooting his friend during a drunken game of chicken. "I know your remorse is real, and I hope this may give you some solace," 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon told Brad Ricks, 55, just before pronouncing a prison term of 16 years to life. "I don't think you intended to kill your friend."
But the murder statute does include language allowing conviction for actions short of intentional behavior, the judge noted, including such phrases as "depraved indifference to human life."
Ricks' case is a "clarion call" about the danger of mixing guns and alcohol, Lyon concluded.
The judge sat for Ricks' trial twice, the first a year ago ruled a mistrial over jury instructions bungled during their preparation by a law clerk.
In the first trial, a jury on Sept. 15, 2010, convicted Ricks in the death of his friend, Maurice Lee, 56.
The two were toying with guns after drinking heavily all day April 21, 2009, in Ricks' Ogden home. Lee's blood-alcohol content was 0.22, according to his autopsy, and Ricks' measured at 0.18 three hours after the shooting.
Ricks had no prior criminal record.
A given in the case is that Ricks put the muzzle of his .45-caliber Glock handgun to Lee's forehead and pulled the trigger in response to Lee's boasting of his fearlessness.
Ricks thought he had cleared a bullet from the chamber, although he did not remove the magazine.
On Aug. 31, Ricks was convicted a second time, a jury again rejecting defense arguments that the alcohol made the case manslaughter, a second-degree felony with a prison term of one to 15 years.