A 24-year-old Pasadena man pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday in connection with the December 1989 shooting death of his live-in girlfriend.
Raymond Edward Davis, of the 7800 block Water Oak Point Road, had been charged with the second-degree murder of 24-year-old Linda S. Kohlhoff.
Kohlhoff died within hours of being shot near the eye with a .22-caliber handgun, said Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Rogers.
Davis entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant concedes the existence of enough evidence to convict him but does not admit guilt. In return, the murder charge was dropped and he will be sentenced to no more than five years in prison. Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
"I don't know that we could have proved intent to kill," Rogers said.
In a statement of facts read before the court yesterday, Rogers said Davis and Kohlhoff were living together in a basement apartment in Davis' father's house on Dec. 2, 1989, but were preparing to move to the trailer of Kohlhoff's mother. Rogers said Davis' brother would have testified he was in the garage when he heard Davis and Kohlhoff arguing in the basement, followed by a popping sound.
Kohlhoff was flown to University Hospital in Baltimore, where she died of a gunshot wound, Rogers said. The prosecutor said Davis told police, "I had a gun, and it just went off when Linda grabbed it." Davis told police he thought the gun was unloaded because its clip was removed, Rogers said.
She said police found the handgun in the basement along with two rifles and a revolver, all fully loaded, and five homemade metal pipe bombs, Rogers said.
Assistant public defender Gary Christopher told the court testimony may have shown no argument preceded the shooting, and he said the gun's safety was defective.
Rogers said Davis was released on bond following his arrest on the murder charge, but that bond was revoked last March after Davis was charged with stealing guns from family members. She said Davis has been indicted on federal weapons charges of possessing pipe bombs and a sawed-off shotgun.
County Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing in the manslaughter case for Feb.