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Accused soldier thought gun was unloaded

Jul. 25, 2012 - 03:28PM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 25, 2012 - 03:28PM  |  
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska A Fort Wainwright soldier charged with murder in the shooting death of a fellow soldier told police he thought the gun was unloaded.

Joshua Jordan Corona, 21, was being held Wednesday without bail at Fairbanks Correctional Center on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting of Jawaun Collins, 19.

Corona reported the shooting, but initially he and his wife told police that Collins accidentally shot himself, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. However, two witnesses in the Fairbanks apartment where Sunday's shooting occurred came forward with a different account. They said Corona was carrying a pistol when he put the gun to Collins' head and pulled the trigger.

One of the witnesses reported that Collins "made a statement to Corona that he should just shoot him in the head," police said.

Both witnesses said Corona appeared to be clearing a jam from the gun before firing, and one witness said Corona might have taken the magazine out of the pistol.

Corona told authorities he thought the pistol was unloaded, the criminal complaint says.

Corona's wife told police that she fabricated the story about Collins accidentally shooting himself. She said she was the only sober person in the apartment Saturday night. She told police she saw Collins and Corona come out of the bedroom and heard Collins tell Corona to shoot him.

She said Collins got down on his knees and Corona ejected a round from the gun and shot Collins in the head.

She said her husband did not believe the gun was loaded when he pulled the trigger. After the shooting, she told police, she picked up the gun with a towel and took out the magazine.

Charging documents say Corona told police he was very intoxicated at the time of the shooting but remembered clearing a jam and believing the firearm was not loaded.

Corona broke down in tears at his arraignment when Magistrate Kirk Schwalm asked him if he had read the charges against him. Corona said he had just read the first line.

Corona said his family plans to hire an attorney to defend him.

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