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Anthony Velure convicted in shooting death of friend in River Falls

Anthony Velure shot and killed Joshua R. Kurer, 24, with a .410 round from a multi-caliber handgun that he thought was empty, according to a criminal complaint.

A River Falls man has been found guilty of homicide in the shooting death of a friend during the summer of 2011.

Anthony Palmer Velure, 27, pleaded no contest to homicide by handling a dangerous weapon Friday (Nov. 9) in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

Judge Eric J. Lundell ordered a pre-sentence investigation and held off on scheduling a sentencing hearing until the PSI is concluded in about eight weeks.

The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $25,000 fine. The single charge was the result of a negotiated agreement between defense attorney Mark Gherty and District Attorney Eric Johnson.

Velure was originally charged with two felony counts -- first-degree reckless homicide and homicide by intoxicated use of a firearm.

The criminal complaint said Velure shot and killed Joshua R. Kurer, 24, with a .410 round from a multi-caliber handgun that Velure thought was empty during an incident at a River Falls apartment June 27, 2011.

Velure, who had served with Kurer in the Armed Forces, admitted to police he had several drinks before he came to Kurer's apartment at about 10:30 p.m. with the intent of getting his friend to go downtown.

During the course of trying to persuade Kurer, Velure took the handgun that was in the apartment, assumed he emptied all six rounds into his pocket, pointed the gun at Kurer and snapped the trigger on an empty chamber, the complaint said.

He repeated the action when a shotgun round went off and hit Kurer in the chest. Kurer was declared dead when police arrived.

Velure told police he and Kurer had both pointed firearms at each other in the past when the firearms were empty and had pulled the trigger at least "half a dozen times."