WILTON — The Corinth man who police say accidentally shot and killed his wife last fall when cleaning a handgun was charged Monday with manslaughter for her death.
Eric J. Rosenbrock was charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the Nov. 15 shooting death of Ashley Rosenbrock in the family’s Raymond Street, Corinth home. The charge alleges he acted recklessly in causing the death of his wife.
He was arraigned Monday afternoon before Wilton Town Justice David Towne and released on his own recognizance with the consent of the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office. Three family members accompanied him to the brief court proceeding.
Mrs. Rosenbrock, 34, died at Saratoga Hospital shortly after she was shot in the torso. State Police said Rosenbrock told them he was “performing maintenance” on a handgun that he legally owned when it fired.
A three-month investigation by State Police from the Wilton station and the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office ensued to try to determine the veracity of Mr. Rosenbrock’s account, and authorities determined that there was no evidence he intentionally shot his wife.
His lawyer, Kurt Mausert, said Rosenbrock had just finished cleaning the 9mm Walther pistol when it discharged as he re-assembled it on a table, preparing for a hunting trip the next day. He was not aware the barrel pointed at his wife, and Mausert said part of the defense investigation will focus on whether the gun malfunctioned.
Even the most experienced, best-trained gun owners have made the same tragic mistake, injuring themselves or others, as most accidental discharges happen with experienced gun owners who become comfortable with their weapons, Mausert added.
He said he believed Rosenbrock’s alleged actions were more negligent than reckless, which would result in a lesser criminally negligent homicide count instead of manslaughter.
Rosenbrock was devastated by the death of his wife, he added.
“It’s a tragedy for everyone involved,” Mausert said. “My hope is to work with the district attorney’s office to come to a fair and equitable resolution.”
The tragedy should not be compounded by depriving the couple’s children of their lone remaining parent through a jail or prison sentence, Mausert said. His wife’s family has been supportive of him, he added.
Saratoga County First Assistant District Attorney Alan Poremba said his office had no comment on the case as of Monday.
The shooting rocked the Corinth area, as the Rosenbrocks were known for their community involvement, particularly after the death of one of their young children from an infection 5 years ago. They began an effort promoting random acts of kindness in the years that followed the death.
The couple, who had been married 11 years and had been high school sweethearts, have three other children, ages 2, 5 and 10.
Mr. Rosenbrock, 35, is due back in court on March 26. Second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 5 to 15 years in state prison.
Mr. Rosenbrock is a seventh-grade science teacher in the Lake George school district. District Superintendent Lynne Rutnik said his employment status going forward was still to be determined as of Monday afternoon, but the Rosenbrock family remains in the district’s thoughts and prayers.