HUNTSVILLE, AL (AL.com) – The man who accidentally killed a 5-year-old Huntsville girl on New Year’s Day has pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge because he was in the United States illegally.
Fidel Rodriguez-Canchola, 34, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing the .22-cailber revolver that he fired in celebration of the new year on Jan. 1, the Department of Justice announced today. Canchola fired the gun outside an Athens home, accidentally hitting Regina Hernandez, a 5-year-old from Huntsville.
Canchola is a native and citizen of Mexico, according to the DOJ.
He also is charged with misdemeanor criminally negligent homicide in Limestone County by the sheriff’s office. Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said the local case is still pending and won’t be dropped because of the federal plea.
“We’re still going to pursue it,” Jones said. “We knew the feds were going to charge him, but that won’t affect our case. Once they’re done with him, we’ll pursue our case.”
The maximum sentence in the local case is a year in jail.
Canchola will be sentenced for the federal charge Oct. 12 by U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon. Canchola faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked up Canchola at the Limestone County Jail in January after obtaining a “detainer” that asked the Sheriff’s Office to hold the suspect.