Woodstock man pleads guilty in friend's shooting death

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock man is expected to be sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of his friend.

Maxwell T. Cannon, 23, also had been facing lesser charges, including reckless discharge of a firearm, for the Dec. 28, 2011, incident that left 19-year-old Anthony Kloeckner dead.

Cannon was showing off a handgun to several friends at a home on Woodlawn Park Avenue near McHenry, according to McHenry County Sheriff’s police.

Police have said that Cannon removed the magazine and, thinking the gun was empty, pointed it at Kloeckner and pulled the trigger.

Kloeckner was shot once in the chest.

Kloeckner’s mother, Chris Kloeckner, said the family agreed to the two-year sentence for Cannon, which was worked out between the defense and prosecution. Cannon is expected to be taken into custody at a sentencing scheduled March 4 before Judge Gordon Graham.

“People are going to say, ‘He should have got more,’ or ‘He should have got less,’ ” Chris Kloeckner said. “But for us, the fact that he admitted to what he did ... that’s a hard thing for anybody.”

She said her son and Cannon were friends for only about two years, but that they became close quickly.

Cannon was the fun kid with whom everyone wanted to hang out, Chris Kloeckner said. He and her son could be in a room without talking but still have a good time.

But they also thought they were invincible, she said, and that ultimately cost a life.

“I think it’s because they were so used to their fun, crazy times that they didn’t think twice about bringing a gun to a friend’s garage,” Chris Kloeckner said. “It wasn’t murder. It was a reckless act.”

When Kloeckner died, his family had Cannon come to the funeral home before the services. Then, they thought that the shooting had been a true accident – that Cannon had been putting the gun away when it went off or a similar situation.

Then they read the police reports and learned that Cannon pointed the gun at her son, Chris Kloeckner said.

“So our feelings totally changed after that,” she said. “After [Cannon’s] two years’ time, he’ll be only 25, and hopefully he’ll improve his life.”

The Kloeckner family is forever changed and Anthony is never coming back.

“Your family is like a puzzle and one piece will be missing,” Chris Kloeckner said. “But you’re going to get more pieces. We’ve got a grandchild coming. The puzzle will go back together, but it will never be the same.” 

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