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Man who drunkenly shot at deer but hit woman pleads guilty

The 73-year-old woman was cleaning her stove when she was shot in the head, police said.

OTTUMWA, Iowa — An Iowa man is awaiting sentencing for drunkenly firing a rifle and wounding a woman inside her home instead of a deer he'd hoped to kill.

Lee Ryals, 35, pleaded guilty Wednesday to reckless use of a firearm, causing injury, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Wapello County District Court records. His sentencing is set for Oct. 29 in Ottumwa.

Image: Lee Ryals
Lee Ryals.Wapello County Jail / via AP

The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office has said the 73-year-old woman was cleaning her stove on Jan. 4 last year near Ottumwa when she heard a loud noise and felt pain in the back of her head. When she saw she was heavily bleeding, she drove herself to a hospital. Doctors later removed a bullet from her head.

Authorities estimated the round traveled 124 yards from the deck of a camper that Ryals was staying in before it entered the woman's home. Authorities said he was drunk when he pulled the trigger.