Card Game Killer, 72, sentenced to 20 years.
I'm laid up sick today (stomach virus, I think) and flipping through some channels trying to find something to watch while I rest. I happened to run across a program called "In Session".
Todays episode focused on Richard Fortner, a guy who was having a card game at his house, he became agitated at one of his friends and accused him of cheating during the card game. In a rage, Fortner ran to his MBR retrieved a revolver, pushed a couple of women out of his way, then Fortner and his friend got into a scuffle. The friend managed to get Fortner in a headlock, at which time Fortner shot his friend in the leg and in the head. I'm guessing here that Fortner testified that he felt suffocated and shot him in the leg first, then once released he shot him in the head.
Of course the friend dies and Fortner is on trial for manslaughter. Apparently during the trial "no duty to retreat" was discussed, but Fortner was granted no immunity in this case. He was found guilty of manslaughter and though his lawyer appealed to the court for leniency in sentencing, he still received a stiff sentence. 20 years w/o parole, plus 10 years probation. He is 72 years old.
Watching these trials leaves no stone unturned. I believe there was some discussion about whether Fortner always kept the gun loaded in his house. Because of that, the prosecution made an issue out of "pre-meditated", which may have affected the jury. Don't get me wrong I have loaded guns in my house, safely put away, but it sure didn't help Fortner's case. Be careful, don't become too rash as Fortner did.
Card game killer, 72,
sentenced to 20 years
VIERA — -- Richard Fortner was sentenced to 20
years in prison to be followed by 10 years of
probation, making it likely that the 72-year-old will
spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
Dressed in a navy blue jumpsuit, Fortner looked
weary and gaunt as he was brought before Judge
John Harris for his sentencing Monday.
About six weeks ago, he had paced the corridors of
the Viera courthouse waiting for the jury's verdict in
the trial on manslaughter and battery charges. At
11:40 p.m. that September night, he learned he was
found guilty of all charges in the slaying of Marion
Christopher Kachnik, 68, who was shot dead during
a card game in Cocoa Beach.
Fortner's attorney, Michael Bross, pleaded for
leniency with the judge, citing his client's age and
health issues. Fortner faced a minimum of about 12
years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines.
The sentence was preceded by appearances in court
by Kachnik's wife, Barbara, and Geraldine
Bloomquist, Fortner's ex-wife.
"That action changed many lives forever, and those
lives will never be the same," Bloomquist said.
"He was on a mission and could not be stopped,"
she said about the slaying.
Kachnik was shot in the head and the leg during an
after-dinner gathering at Fortner's residence on
Cocoa Beach's North Banana
River Boulevard in October 2008.
According to trial testimony, Kachnik started
helping guest Donna Northcraft during a card game
called Phase 10.
Fortner objected, which led to an argument. When
the incident escalated, he retrieved a .38-caliber
revolver and shot Kachnik twice during a scuffle.
He also scuffled and pushed other guests during
"I have to take my share of responsibility," Fortner
told Harris on Monday, but added that others
needed to take responsibility, too.
The judge asked him what he meant.
Fortner mentioned Kachnik's name.
"He is dead," Harris reminded Fortner.
Bross told the judge that Fortner suffers from
"I am saying he is not clearly thinking," the attorney
Soon after, the judge gave Fortner 20 years on the
manslaughter charge and two other lesser
concurrent sentences on the charges of aggravated
battery of a person 65 years or older and battery of
a person 65 years or older.
Fortner had been free on bond since November
2008 before his arrest following the September
Fortner waved to friends in the gallery as he was led