The trailer shared by Richard Fox, Jeanette Ogara, and their four-year-old daughter was pierced by shrapnel from a "homemade cannon."
The trailer shared by Richard Fox, Jeanette Ogara, and their four-year-old daughter was pierced by shrapnel from a “homemade cannon” that detonated instead of firing, killing Orgara almost instantly.

I really wish that I could claim that was a story ripped from DuffleBlog or The Onion, but it’s sadly all too real:

A handyman has been jailed for 10 years after he accidentally killed his girlfriend with a homemade cannon.

Richard Fox, a 41-year-old explosives enthusiast, was loading the cannon at his trailer park home in Petrero – a small mountain community close to California’s border with Mexico – when it exploded unexpectedly.

Shrapnel from the unintentional blast penetrated the trailer, instantly killing Fox’s girlfriend Jeanette Ogara, 38, but leaving the couple’s four-year-old daughter Vanessa unharmed.

Fox pleaded guilty to felony charges relating to the explosion of a destructive device causing death, and possession of materials to carry out such an act – with the prosecution accepting his argument that it had never been his intention to kill his girlfriend.

Richard Fox weeps during his sentencing.
Richard Fox weeps during his sentencing.

Fox’s “cannon” was a length of steel pipe stuffed with blackpowder that he reclaimed from fireworks, and which he tamped down with aluminum foil in some way. Unfortunately, while he was constructing the device—while apparently less than sober— he somehow set it off, and instead of firing a directional blast like his previous “experiments,” the device detonated like a grenade.

Fox received shrapnel wounds to his legs. Ogara was killed by shrapnel that penetrated their trailers walls.

Fox served time for vehicle theft and weapons charges in the 1990s which made him a prohibited person, and which is why the judge imposed the maximum ten-year sentence.

You apparently can’t fix stupid, but you can put it in prison where it will be less of a threat to other people.