An Australian man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of the attempted murder of someone who was already dead, Stuff.co.nz reports. In March 2014, Rocky Matskassy, 31, was shot as he and Daniel James Darrington, 39, struggled over a gun in a home in a Melbourne suburb, the Guardian reports. As Matskassy lay on the ground, the drunken Darrington shot him twice more in the head. "I started to panic," Darrington later told a psychologist. "I didn't know what to do. He was twitching and I felt sorry for him. I shot him twice, mate. I wish it had never happened." The movements Darrington describes could have been involuntary, post-death responses.
The case was new legal territory for both the prosecution and defense. "If Matskassy dies as a consequence of the first shot, the subsequent deliberate shots into Matskassy are not murder," the defense lawyer argued during the trial. A jury found Darrington not guilty of murder in October, instead finding him guilty of attempted murder. The prosecutor had claimed that Darrington shot Matskassy three times at point-blank range after trying to evict Matskassy from his friend's house, where Matskassy had been living for several months, reports the Age. Darrington claimed that he had fought with Matskassy, who then came at him with the gun. (Read more Australia stories.)