A sniper who terrified drivers for five months along an Ohio
highway pleaded guilty to manslaughter and 10 other charges this week. The plea
was in exchange for prosecutors not seeking a second trial for murder, which
could have resulted in the death penalty.
Charles McCoy, 29, admitted Tuesday, Aug. 9, that he had thrown
wood and bags of concrete mix from highway overpasses and fired shots at
traffic. One shot hit and killed Gail Knisely, a 62-year-old grandmother. The
Associated Press reported that McCoy read a statement of apology in a
Franklin County court before he was sentenced to 27 years in prison without
According to Reuters, McCoy told Knisely’s family in
court that he was sorry for not taking his medication, which had been
prescribed beginning 10 years ago for schizophrenia.
During a trial earlier this year – which ended in a hung
jury – psychiatrists said that toward the end of the shooting spree, McCoy
believed firing from overpasses would make news media stop reporting about
That trial, which included a murder charge and 23 other counts,
focused on whether McCoy knew his actions were wrong. The charges related to
incidents beginning in 2003 and continuing into early 2004.
McCoy told doctors that television shows were mocking him
and that voices in his head were calling him a “wimp.” He said his actions
along Interstate 270 around Columbus, OH, were an attempt to silence the
He was arrested in Las Vegas in March 2004 after his parents
tipped off police.