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Murder Suspect Claims Shooting was Accident

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A judge in Luzerne County has decided there is enough evidence to send a man from Philadelphia to trial for the death of a woman in Wi...

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- A judge in Luzerne County has decided there is enough evidence to send a man from Philadelphia to trial for the death of a woman in Wilkes-Barre.

Zien Council, 18, is headed to trial on a criminal homicide charge for the shooting death of Brittney Reynolds, 26, of Wilkes-Barre.

He's also charged with theft for allegedly taking her gun and car.

Zien Council had nothing to say to reporters as he left his preliminary hearing in Wilkes-Barre. A magistrate ordered him to stand trial for the murder of Brittney Reynolds.

Reynolds was found shot to death in her home on Matson Avenue in Wilkes-Barre late last month.

Two days later, police arrested Council in Philadelphia. He had Reynolds' car and gun.

In court, friends of Reynolds said she and Council began a sexual relationship after meeting at the Red Rock Job Corps in Sullivan County, where she worked.

During the hearing, Reynolds' mother testified about her final conversation with her daughter. She listened to other testimony that described how her daughter was found partially clothed in the bedroom. She had been shot in the back of the head through a pillow.

Council's defense attorney says the shooting happened by accident and was part of "play fighting" the two lovers were taking part in.

"No indication from any witness that she was ever afraid of him, in fear of him, had any altercations with our client. It's a tragedy, and our heart goes out to her family, but it is not a homicide case," said Council's attorney Joseph Yeager.

"It's clear from the evidence we put forward the Commonwealth is not buying that claim. We're prepared to move forward on an open count of homicide against Mr. Council and move this case forward onto the courthouse," said Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino.

After the hearing, Council was taken back to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. He's locked up there without bail. A trial date for this case has not been scheduled.