On March 18, 2016, a former Newport News Firefighter-Medic was sentenced to four years in prison for recklessly shooting his child’s mother, killing her.
The defendant, Charles Land, was found guilty on December 1, 2015, of involuntary manslaughter and reckless handling of a firearm in the Jan. 31, 2015, death of Kristin Hambleton, a Riverside Regional Medical Center nurse.
Earlier in the evening of the shooting, Land and Hambleton had been socialized together along with other friends. Both had been drinking alcohol. They went back to Hambleton’s apartment at the end of the evening and were discussing firearms leading Land to get his handgun from his vehicle.
Hambleton showed Land a disarming maneuver and successfully disarmed him several times with her unloaded gun but could not disarm Land of his own unloaded gun before he could pull the trigger. Land reloaded his gun and went to the bathroom. When he came out, Hambleton said she wanted to practice again. She handed him his gun with the magazine removed but Land did not check the chamber to confirm the gun was fully unloaded.
Hambleton attempted to disarm Land and Land pulled the trigger, shooting Hambleton once in the neck. The defendant initially lied to the police and said that Hambleton had shot herself but eventually admitted to shooting her and then attempting to stage the scene by putting the gun in Hambleton’s hand with her finger on the trigger.
The sentence was handed down after a four-hour hearing that included a recess during which the Hon. Judge Gary Mills considered all the testimony presented by the Commonwealth and the defense. Hambleton’s family testified about how her death has devastated the family, including Hambleton’s two young children. The defendant also apologized to her family.