By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Warsaw man will serve three years in prison after a fatal shooting in October 2019.
Kyle David Shaw, 35, 2262 S. Oak Drive, Warsaw, was charged with reckless homicide, a level 5 felony. A criminal recklessness charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Shaw was sentenced in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Monday, July 27.
At 1:15 p.m. Oct. 15, 2019, Warsaw Police responded to a report of a shooting at Shamrock Village Mobile Home Court. According to court documents, officers who arrived at the scene saw Shaw run out of a mobile home with blood on his hands, feet and clothing.
When officers entered the home, they found Heather Emelio, 34, laying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the neck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy revealed the bullet entered the right side of Emelio’s neck in an upward trajectory and entered her brain.
After being read his Miranda rights, Shaw told officers he and Emelio were in their bedroom. At the time, Shaw said he had been holding a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun with a fully loaded magazine and a cartridge in the chamber. He told police Emelio bumped into him, causing him to drop the gun.
Shaw said he caught the gun but that his thumb touched the trigger, causing the gun to discharge. Officers gave Shaw a portable breath test which indicated he had a 0.161 alcohol level.
During court proceedings, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Buehler read a letter from Pat Hover, Emelio’s grandmother.
Hover described being closer to Emelio than her other grandchildren because of Emelio’s sister’s medical condition. Thirty minutes prior to the shooting, Emelio texted Hover and said she and her children would visit over the weekend.
“This was a senseless act of recklessness,” read Hover’s letter. “There will always be an empty seat at my spaghetti dinners.”
Cathy Gaskill, Emelio’s mother, then took the stand for testimony.
“There are no words to describe the devastation that I feel,” said Gaskill. “There is this void that has consumed my life. Heather was a wonderful mother and was able to overcome anything. We had a strong mother-daughter relationship. We were best friends.”
Gaskill said she lost her first child to cystic fibrosis and that her grandchildren have been moved far away as a result of the shooting incident.
“I am no longer someone’s mom and no one will call me mom again,” said Gaskill.
Several members of the Shaw and Emelio families were present for the sentencing.
“A Level 5 felony doesn’t seem appropriate for someone who kills another human being,” said Buehler. “The woman he (Shaw) professes he loves to this day, he killed. But I commend Heather’s entire family for their grace and patience through all of this.”
“There are no words that capture the gravity of this situation,” said Defense Attorney Austin Rovenstine. “An accidental killing is different than an intentional one.”
In his statement, Rovenstine listed several mitigating factors, including that Shaw attempted to save Emelio and has been remorseful from the very beginning.
Shaw apologized in court to Emelio’s family for what occurred.
“This is a situation that has crushed a lot of people,” said Kosciusko County Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed. “He (Shaw) killed his best friend. There’s no winners here.”
For reckless homicide, Shaw was sentenced to five years in the Indiana Department of Correction, with the last two years suspended on probation. The sentence will be served consecutively to a misdemeanor case for resisting law enforcement. Shaw must also pay $4,945.60 in restitution to Gaskill for funeral expenses.