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Judge sets trial date in Iowa woman's cannon malfunction death

The improvised cannon was made from the sawed-off barrel of a .50-caliber, black powder rifle and was supposed to serve as a noisemaker.

Posted: May 7, 2019 11:24 AM

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) — A July 17 trial starting date has been scheduled for an eastern Iowa man charged in the death of a woman hit by fragments from a homemade cannon.

Delaware County court records say 31-year-old Max Fenton has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and two fireworks charges.

The improvised cannon was made from the sawed-off barrel of a .50-caliber, black powder rifle and was supposed to serve as a noisemaker. Authorities say the rear of the barrel "blew out" in Greeley the night of July 2, 2016, sending fragments toward where 55-year-old Lori Heims was sitting, hitting her in the head. She died later at a hospital.

The trial has been delayed since because of legal maneuvering. Judge Michael Shubatt noted previous trial delays and says in court records that he won't delay it again for further preparations or negotiations between the parties.

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