- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

AIKEN, S.C. (AP) - A former Aiken County officer is sentenced to five years for the June 2015 death of his 24-year-old wife.

Local media outlets report Matthew Blakley pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter. Blakley told investigators he was showing his wife, Candace, his new M4 assault rifle when it accidentally went off, shooting her in the head.

Prosecutors say Blakley claimed he’d taken the bullets out, but a magazine was inside the gun, and the safety was off.

At the time, Blakley was working at the county jail. He was two weeks shy of graduating from the Criminal Justice Academy and becoming a full-time deputy. The sheriff’s office hired the former Marine seven months earlier.

Blakley apologized to her family in court, saying he wished he could “take her place.”

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