Plea deal likely in shooting death


AUBURN – A Lewiston man whose first trial for fatally shooting his best friend ended in a hung jury is expected to plead guilty today to a reduced charge.

In a negotiated agreement, the manslaughter charge against Brandon Knight, 21, would be dropped and he would plead guilty to aggravated assault, according to court records. Sentencing is likely to follow the plea hearing.

Knight shot Shawn Fitzsimmons, 24, in the head with a pistol at a friend’s apartment in 2004. Knight claims the shooting was an accident. He told the jury at his trial last year he believed the gun was unloaded. The jury deadlocked 8-4.

In February, an Androscoggin County grand jury indicted Knight again. Besides manslaughter, the grand jury charged him with aggravated assault.