GARDEN CITY, SC (WMBF) The 59-year-old man charged in the shooting death of his ex-wife has pleaded guilty, according to Horry County Court Public Index records.
Horry County Police charged 59-year-old man Gary Allen Gillespie with murder in connection to the shooting death of his ex-wife in March of 2011.
On Tuesday, Gillespie pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to nine months in prison, and ordered to pay court costs.
Lt. Raul Denis, spokesman for the Horry County Police Department, said police responded to a home along East Surfwind Drive in the Garden City area of Horry County shortly after midnight on March 19 in reference to a shooting.
According to Denis, Gillespie was involved in an assault with his ex-wife's son at their home that night when he used a gun. The gun went off and hit Gillespie's ex-wife, 53-year-old Cheryl Gillespie.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler said Cheryl Gillespie died of her injuries on the scene.
Some in the Garden City neighborhood say they know the shooting wasn't intentional.
"It was a total accident, total accident, 'cause he adored Cheryl. I knew that much by just the little I did know. He was crazy about her," said family friend Richard Ray.
Cheryl Gillespie worked at the Pet Center in Surfside Beach an her co-workers there were shocked to read about her death. They say they worry about what will happen to her three boys.
"Cheryl was, she was the breadwinner of the family. Everyone leaned on Cheryl for everything. Their source of income, everything that they did depended on Cheryl," said Christine Green.
Lt. Kevin Duke, also with the Horry County Police Department, said Cheryl Gillespie's son was arrested at the scene for getting in the way of police when they arrived.
Police, along with friends, say this is the second time tragedy struck in this family. The Gillespie's buried another son in 2003.
Cheryl Gillespie's friends are collecting donations to offset her funeral costs. They'll be accepted at the Pet Center at 1712 Highway 17 North in Surfside Beach.