The East County man whose homemade explosive device killed his longtime girlfriend has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from her death.
Richard Dale Fox, 41, admitted Monday to felony charges of explosion of a destructive device and possession of ingredients to make an explosive device, which carry a prison sentence between six and ten years.
Fox was originally charged with murder in the March 2012 death of Jeanette Ogara, 38, his girlfriend of 11 years.
In a jailhouse interview with NBC 7, Fox said the couple had been drinking at their Potrero mobile home when he decided to light off fireworks from his cannon-like device – something he had done a dozen times before.
He cut off the tops of the fireworks, poured the powder into his 26-inch pipe and stuffed it down with a broom handle.
But when he placed it on the ground and the device exploded, shrapnel went shooting through the side of the couple’s trailer, hitting Ogara in her chest.
“I just wish that the damn thing had hit me instead of her,” Fox had told NBC 7. “I would have much rather died than her.”
The District Attorney’s Office decided there was no evidence that Fox intended to kill Ogara, so the murder charge was dropped.
The couple’s then-4-year-old daughter was inside the trailer with three friends at the time, but they were not injured. Ogara and Fox also have a 13-year-old daughter.
Fox is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 15.