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Former Cleveland Firefighter sentenced to 6 years in prison for the death of his best friend

Kevin McCarthy former firefighter
Posted at 5:04 PM, Feb 22, 2023

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — Former Cleveland Firefighter, Kevin McCarthy, was sentenced in Lake County Common Pleas Court Wednesday.

McCarthy was sentenced to six years in prison for the deadly shooting of his roommate and best friend, 25-year-old Christian Kilburg, in April 2022.

Last month, McCarthy pleaded guilty to one count of reckless homicide.

“With every beat of my heart it is a beat of sorrow and remorse. I simply can not explain the angst that is now engrained in my DNA,” McCarthy said with tears streaming down his face in court.

Willoughby Police said that on April 14, 2022, the two lifelong friends were out eating, drinking and celebrating Kilburg’s recent promotion. When they returned to their apartment, police said they started playing around with a gun, and according to police it is something the two men had done before.

“When I heard you were pulling guns on each other I was in utter disbelief,” said Frances Kilburg, Christian’s mother, when she spoke to a packed courtroom.

McCarthy and Kilburg had been friends since grade school. McCarthy told police he thought the gun was unloaded.

“I live with the torment every single day it just runs through my head all the time and I don’t sleep. There is nobody, no human that can ease my pain,” said Kilburg.

An emotional McCarthy said he accepted responsibility and is remorseful.

“To the Kilburgs— I am so sorry. To each one of our friends and his friends— I’m sorry, and to my family— I’m sorry. I would trade places with him in a minute, but I would not wish this absolute mental hell I have to live with forever upon anyone,“ McCarthy explained.

Lake County Judge John O’Donnell sentenced McCarthy to the maximum sentence. “The facts don’t indicate to me during the review of this case that you intended to shoot Christian, but you did,” said O’Donnell

“I pray because that’s the only consolation I have. I pray for you too Kevin. I pray for you too,” Kilburg said.

As McCarthy was escorted out of the courtroom, he looked at the Kilburg family who he has known for a very long time and said, “I’m sorry.”

RELATED: Cleveland firefighter arrested told police he accidentally shot and killed his roommate

You can watch more about McCarthy's arrest and charges in the player below:

Cleveland firefighter arrested told police he accidentally shot and killed his roommate

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