Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Gun Range Death of Christopher Bizilj

A Civil Suit Settles and One Defendant Pleads

In November 2009, the Bizilj family filed a $4 million wrongful death civil lawsuit against all four defendants in the criminal case, and their companies. That lawsuit contended that Dr. Charles Bizilj was not allowed to accompany his son to the firing line and that the Micro Uzi malfunctioned twice and was only inspected by Michael Spano before it being handed back to Christopher with fatal results.

Dr. Charles Bizilj
Dr. Charles Bizilj

The suit never went to trial. Instead, the parties reached a confidential settlement. In subsequent testimony, Dr. Bizilj was questioned about a final settlement figure of $700,000 and did not deny it, but explained that the money was to be used to set up a foundation in Christopher's name that would help less-fortunate children.

On March 11, 2010, the Westfield Sportsman's Club told the court it would not contest the involuntary manslaughter or furnishing charges. The club did not admit wrongdoing, but agreed to pay the maximum fine on the manslaughter count, $1,000, and to donate $10,000 to two children's charities in the name of Christopher Bizilj to settle the furnishing charges. The Westfield Sportsman's Club said it would no longer hold the Machine Gun Shoot & Firearms Expo, and went even farther, announcing it would no longer allow automatic weapons on its grounds.

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