An ex-St Louis police officer pleaded guilty Friday to killing a fellow officer during a game of Russian roulette and was sentenced to seven years in prison, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Nathaniel Hendren, 30, initially pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the January 24, 2019, shooting death of Katlyn Alix, 24, at Hendren’s home, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Hendren pleaded guilty to first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in court on Friday. A disciplinary document obtained by the Post Dispatch said that both Hendren and his partner Patrick Riordan, who was present when the shooting took place, had been drinking despite both being on-duty. Alix was off-duty at the time.
Riordan, who has not been charged, and Hendren reportedly skipped taking a call — passing it off to other officers — to hang out with Alix at Hendren’s home.
The plea agreement called for Henden’s seven-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter and three-year sentence for armed criminal action to be served concurrently.
Authorities said that on the day of the shooting, Hendren took all the bullets out of a gun, put one back in, then spun the cylinder. The pointed the gun away and pulled the trigger. Alix then took the weapon, pointed it at Hendren and pulled the trigger. There was no bullet in the chamber either of those times, but the third time the trigger was pulled — with Hendren pointing the gun at Alix — it fired, striking her in the chest.
“I don’t intend to try and explain anyone else’s hurt or make this day any more about me than it already is,” Hendren said in court on Friday, the Post-Dispatch said. “I simply wish to express my sincere remorse to this court and to the family of Katlyn Alix, a wonderful woman full of tenacity and self-determination.”
Although Alix was reportedly married, she and Hendren were in a relationship, his attorney said.
Alix was a US Army reservist deployed to Guantanamo Bay as a prison guard before joining the St Louis Police Department, the Post Dispatch reported. Hendren is a former Marine.
Hendren’s trial had been scheduled to begin next month. Additionally, Alix’s mother, Aimee L Wahlers, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit saying that Hendren forced other girlfriends to play similar games and had serious psychiatric issues the St Louis Police Department should have known about, CrimeOnline reported last fall. The lawsuit names Hendren and Riordan, their sergeant Gary Foster, and the city of St Louis.
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[Feature image: Katlyn Alix/St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department]