Man with shotgun under pillow pleads in death of girl, 3

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania man who told police he was sleeping next to a 3-year-old girl with a loaded shotgun under his pillow last year and awoke to a loud bang and found the child dead has pleaded guilty to a murder charge.
Fifty-two-year-old Marlin Pritchard of Pittsburgh pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and a firearms charge in Allegheny County Court. Other charges were withdrawn. Prosecutors said there was no agreement in place on sentencing.
Prosecutors said he told investigators he was sleeping next to the girl and another child in the home in the Belthoover neighborhood in February 2020 and had a pistol-grip shotgun under his pillow pointed in the direction of the children, authorities said. He said that after he heard the sound, he saw one child jump from the bed and run, but the 3-year-old girl didn’t move and he saw blood and a wound on her neck, police said.
Pritchard told investigators he slept with the gun because of threats from other people, authorities said. The Tribune-Review reports that his girlfriend told police she had been babysitting the girl and another child that night at the home.

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