Crime & Courts

Ex-Marine gets probation for accidentally shooting, killing friend

A former Marine lance corporal received only probation last week in the accidental shooting death of a fellow Marine in August.

Patrick King, 21, pleadedguilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter Thursday, according to Beaufort County court records.

He was given credit for the five months he spent at the Beaufort County Detention Centerawaiting trial and was sentenced to five years probation by Judge Carmen Mullen.

King's probation will be served in his home state of New York, according to records.

King was arrested following the Aug. 16 shooting of Cpl. Tony Martinez-Ramirez, a 21-year-old aircraft mechanic with the Stingers of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Investigators say King was playing with a handgun that he'd brought to a house party on Second Street in Beaufort.Believing the gun to be unloaded, King pointed the gun at Martinez-Ramirez and pulled the trigger, according to authorities. The gun fired and the bullet struck Martinez-Ramirez in the head.He died two days later at a Charleston hospital. Both men were members of MALS-31.

King could havebeen sentenced to up to five years in jail, according to state law.

King has been separated from the Marine Corps, said Sgt. John Jackson, air station spokesman.

"He is no longer a United States Marine," he said.