Lawyer: Fatal shooting was accidental

Associated Press

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- The lawyer for a state senator's son who shot a friend as he posed for pictures with a handgun says her death was nothing but a tragic accident.

But authorities said Brett Lessard, 24, the son of Sen. Bob Lessard of International Falls, was negligent. They charged him with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Itasca County District Court on Thursday.

"There's going to be absolutely no question that this was a tragic accident and nothing but an accident," said his attorney, Kevin Erickson. He said the criminal complaint does not tell the whole story.

Sen. Lessard said Friday that his son is an emotional wreck over what happened and was thinking about the family of the victim, Angela A. Aho, 20, of Cohasset. The senator said his own heart also goes out to the Aho family.


"I just want to say to the family that there's no way, no words that can adequately express our anguish and sorrow that you must be going through," he said.

Brett Lessard is a hunting and fishing guide who also works as a security guard. According to the complaint, he told an investigator his gun went off Wednesday night as he pointed it at Aho, who was taking pictures of him at his Grand Rapids home as part of a photography class project.

Lessard told the investigator the Glock 10 mm pistol normally was loaded, the complaint said.

Aho, an Itasca Community College student, was hit in the left eye and died. Another student, a friend of both Aho and Lessard, saw the shooting and told police that when she tried to call 911, Lessard took away her cell phone.

Lessard told an investigator he sent the witness to his bedroom while he moved Aho's body from his living room to his kitchen entryway, threw his gun on the ground outside and used the telephone to try to call a police officer friend before driving away.

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