KALAMAZOO COUNTY — A 25-year-old Vicksburg man arrested in August after shooting and killing his friend and roommate has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, according to Kalamazoo County chief assistant prosecutor Scott Brower.
Thomas Wyatt pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter in a settlement that dropped a charge of careless discharge of a weapon causing injury or death and is expected to serve 12 months in jail followed by an unspecified length of probation, Brower said. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, Feb. 25.
Wyatt was officially charged with open murder in August and faced up to life in prison after he shot and killed 28-year-old William Michael Bolton at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25.
According to Kalamazoo County Sheriff's deputies, they responded to a residence located on the 13000 block of West Tremblay Drive in Schoolcraft Township and found Bolton had suffered from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kathy Bolton, the victim's mother, told Newschannel 3 she was convinced there was no way the shooting occurred on purpose. She said both her son and Wyatt were best friends.
"They were like brothers, like two peas in a pod. They would have laid their lives down for one another without a second thought," Kathy Bolton said in August.
She claimed the men were cleaning their guns to prepare for a trip to the shooting range when Wyatt's went off, hitting the victim in the shoulder.