Ozark man sentenced in gun-toss shooting
A 30-year-old Ozark man was sentenced Friday to 36 years in prison after pleading guilty in the death of a man who was shot while playing catch with a loaded gun, according to Franklin County Circuit Court records.
Cody Whitten was charged with first-degree murder in the August 2016 death of Cody Ray Duncan. Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons said Whitten pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
He also was sentenced to an additional five years
in prison for a firearms enhancement and a year on a separate delivery of methamphetamine charge, all to run consecutively, Gibbons said.
The murder trial for Whitten was set to start Aug. 17, according to court records.
A probable cause affidavit by Ozark police said Whitten admitted being responsible for shooting Duncan. He said he and Duncan were in Whitten’s girlfriend’s apartment with a revolver. He said Duncan picked up the gun and they started tossing it back and forth, according to the affidavit. The gun went off when Whitten had the gun in his hand and the bullet struck Duncan in the head.
Whitten told police that Duncan had taken all but one round out of the gun to play Russian roulette. But when the gun was located, officers found it fully loaded with one expended round.
Duncan died from the head wound Aug. 17 in a hospital in Washington County.
Police interviewed Whitten’s girlfriend, Stephanie Stacy, 20, who said she was in the bedroom with Whitten and Duncan while they played catch with the gun, according to a probable cause affidavit. She said when Whitten caught the gun, it went off, wounding Duncan in the head.
Stacy said Whitten grabbed the gun and ran from the room. Police later found Whitten in bed with Stacy at her mother’s home.
Stacy was sentenced to six years’ probation and was ordered too pay $1,820 in fines, costs and fees in June after pleading guilty to a charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution for initially lying to police about the shooting.