Charles Culp plans to marry the woman he shot. Prison, however, comes first.
Culp pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree assault and attempting to elude police. He was sentenced to two years and five months behind bars.
The 32-year-old Spokane man admitted shooting his girlfriend in the hip during an argument last Oct. 21 in her Spokane Valley home.
The day after the shooting, law enforcement officers chased Culp for 20 miles at speeds of up to 100 mph before he crashed his sports car on Mount Spokane Road.
Deputy Prosecutor Dannette Allen said the victim, Kathleen Whitney, 33, initially complained of being “mentally and physically abused” by Culp. She said he threatened her with guns on several occasions, according to Allen.
But shortly after Culp’s arrest, the prosecutor said Whitney asked that the charges be dropped, calling the latest incident “an accident.”
The victim wasn’t in court Thursday, but a choked-up Culp said he intended his bride-to-be no harm.
He said he fired the gun at the floor that night. The bullet ricocheted, hitting Whitney.
“I didn’t shoot Kathy intentionally,” the defendant said. “I didn’t try to kill her or anything.”
Defense attorney John Hunt Whaley said Whitney wasn’t seriously injured.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen imposed a 29-month prison term, the high end of the standard sentencing range.
Eitzen cited Culp’s 1981 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. He also has convictions for domestic violence and malicious mischief, authorities said.
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