PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A bride convicted in the shooting death of her niece on her wedding day in Beaver County was in court for sentencing Wednesday.
In March, Christina George-Harvan was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the death of 21-year-old Katelyn Francis.
Today, George-Harvan was sentenced to 16-32 months in prison and $10,000 in restitution.
“From the second it happened to the second I’m standing here, we have felt nothing but heartache and pain, maybe this will help it go away,” said Julie Francis, the defendant’s mother. “I have not slept; I can’t work, and see a doctor. It’s just bad for us and we just want this to go away, and I know it never will.”
George-Harvan, 30, and Francis were celebrating after the wedding at a bar in New Brighton when the two started arguing about who was going to drive home. The accused newlywed’s husband had been tossed out of the bar.
During the trial, George-Harvan claimed she first saw the gun in a glove box in her husband Jeremy Harvan’s truck and that she tried to move it to the middle console and it went off, not knowing how to handle it safely.
The jury had to decide whether or not George-Harvan was guilty of third-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. The verdict was less than prosecutors hoped for.
George-Harvan and her family apologized in open court Wednesday to the family of the victim.
The victim’s family told the judge the defendant should face the five-year maximum for her involuntary manslaughter conviction.
“Christina is not a child,” said the victim’s mother, Pam Markley. “She acted irresponsibly. She should face the maximum punishment.”
The judge though sentenced her in the standard range. But since he sentenced her to a county rather than state facility, she could be eligible for work release.
“I have to file a motion, which I intend to file next week, and assuming she meets the program guidelines, which she should, she could be out on work release as early as I would imagine a week or two depending on how quickly we could get a hearing. But I would imagine he would act pretty quickly on that request,” said defense attorney Steve Colafella.