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Lawyer for San Miguel man accused of shooting wife says it was a ''terrible accident''

The lawyer for the San Miguel man accused of involuntary manslaughter in the July 2009 shooting death of his wife said the incident was a "perfect storm" and "a terrible accident" but not a crime.

Ilan Funke-Bilu made his opening statement this morning in John Aaron Norris' trial. Funke-Bilu had the right to make an opening statement at the start of the trial on Friday, but decided to wait until after the prosecution rested its case, which happened Tuesday.

Funke-Bilu said his client thought the weapon was clear of ammunition, and Norris' wife, Tasha Dawn Norris, acknowledged to him that it was emptied of bullets before the gun went off as he tripped on a puppy.

Tasha Norris was concerned about the gun being in the living room because a worker was coming to check the couple's sprinkler system the afternoon of July 9, 2009. John Norris was taking the gun upstairs at the couple's two-story home in San Miguel when the shooting happened, Funke-Bilu said.

Norris has pleaded not guilty and is expected to testify this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Judge Michael Duffy's courtroom.

--Nick Wilson

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