In Alaska, a state with some of the most lenient gun laws in the nation, a 27-year-old woman is in custody this week after fatally shooting her 24-year-old boyfriend in the head while, she told police, drinking and “playing with guns.”
It seems that authorities in Anchorage now holding Bonnie Degenstein may not completely buy her story of a purely accidental shooting. They are currently holding her on $300,000 bail and charging her with second-degree murder.
Degenstein (pictured) called 911 at 10:16 on Friday night, to report that she had just shot Ryan Tamborrino, her boyfriend. Police showed up to find a dazed Degenstein sitting on a couch in an upstairs apartment in the midtown area of Alaska's largest city. Tamborrino was sitting on a different couch.
The man was slumped over and bleeding profusely from the forehead. He was breathing when police arrived. However, he died of the gunshot wound at a nearby hospital.
The arresting officers said that Degenstein had an alcohol smell about her, as well as blood on her pants and sandals. As they led her away, she said, “I can’t believe I did this.”
Police found two handguns in plain sight on a coffee table in front of the two couches. One gun was empty, but the other had a bullet in the magazine. Who owned the guns has not been determined, but a downstairs neighbor who knew both the accused woman and her deceased romantic partner said that she was not aware of Tamborrino owning any firearms.
Police also found two spent shell casings on the floor, as well as a mostly-consumed bottle of vodka and a shotglass that was partially filled, presumably with something alcoholic.
Jacinta Parham, the downstairs neighbor who said she had formerly been roommates with the deceased man told police that she had witnessed the couple arguing two days earlier, with Tamborrino demanding that Degenstein leave the apartment.
At the time, Parham said she gave Degenstein a ride home, during which the woman conveyed that she and Tamborrino were having relationship troubles because she had discovered that he was seeing other women.
The gun control advocacy group The Brady Project recently rated Alaska as having the nation’s second-most lenient gun laws. On a scale of 1-100, with 100 being most satisfactory to gun control advocates, Alaska received a score of zero.
SOURCES: Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch, Deseret News