Just one bullet is all it took to end the promising life of 22-year-old Brittany-Mae Haag, of Anchorage, Alaska. The same bullet could cost her longtime boyfriend, Victor Sibson, his freedom. Sibson, age 21, meant for the bullet to take his life, not hers on April 19. He was indicted May 16, and has, since, been charged with second-degree murder, pleaded not guilty May 21, and will stand trial August 21.

Bullet enters boyfriend's head, exits, and hits and kills girlfriend

Sibson, also of Anchorage, reportedly told police that he remembers buying the handgun he held to his left temple, yet he doesn’t recall anything related to the shooting that cost his girlfriend her life at around 2 a.m.

on May 16 in the apartment the couple shared. While he held the gun to his head, prosecutors said they believe that Haag tried to grab the gun to prevent him from ending his life and that the bullet passed through his head and struck her in the chest when she reached over to Sibson.

Sibson called 911 and reported that he shot himself, according to the District Attorney’s Office in Anchorage. Meanwhile, Haag went to her neighbor Gary Hutson’s door asking for help. Hutson followed her back to the couple’s apartment. When he cracked open the door, he saw Sibson on the floor as his girlfriend faltered.

When Anchorage police arrived, they discovered Sibson with a bullet wound to his head. They found Haag on the floor with a great deal of blood on her chest and still breathing when she was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center.

She died 2:51 a.m. while her boyfriend was treated for his life-threatening injuries.

Single shell casing and lone recovered bullet evidence attempted suicide

One shell casing was found at the scene of the shooting. During Haag’s autopsy, the bullet in her chest was recovered. Clinton Campion, Anchorage District Attorney, said it was possible Sibson tried to kill himself based on the physical evidence.

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Additionally, the evidence indicated that once the bullet exited Sibson’s head, it entered Haag’s chest.

James Fayette, Assistant District Attorney, said he has never seen a similar one-shot case. Since 1993, Fayette has been a prosecutor. He said the case is both compelling and tragic.

At the time of the shooting, Sibson’s blood alcohol was allegedly over three times the legal limit.

Judge enters pleas for defendant

During a court hearing May 21, Sibson told a judge that he couldn’t afford a lawyer and is unemployed. He asked the judge if they could determine whether he is “guilty or not today?” The judge entered a “not guilty” plea for the defendant.

He is in the Anchorage jail lacking resources to pay $250,000 bond. If convicted of the second-degree murder charge, he could serve up to 99 years in prison.

Family struggles to understand shooting

Haag’s sister, Chelsea Hartman, told a TV station that she is struggling, trying to understand how one bullet entered one person yet killed another. “It’s just not fair,” she said.

Haag’s obituary noted her death as a senseless act of violence that will forever change many lives.

Her family saved some of her remains. Her skin was donated to burn victims affected by an apartment fire in Anchorage. The 22-year-old, who was born and raised in Alaska, worked at Arctic Trails and aspired to become a Veterinarian’s Assistant.