West Michigan man pleads no contest to shooting woman campaigning against abortion

A western Michigan man who said he accidentally shot an 84-year-old woman campaigning against abortion rights at his home has pleaded no contest to assault and two other charges, records show.

The shooting occurred in September in Ionia County. Richard Harvey, 75, said Joan Jacobson was talking to his wife about opposing a constitutional amendment on the November ballot and had refused to leave.

Harvey pleaded no contest Monday to assault, careless discharge of a gun and reckless use of a gun, according to online records. A no-contest plea is treated like a conviction at sentencing.

Messages seeking comment were left for the prosecutor and Harvey’s attorney Tuesday.

MORE: Guilty plea in Egypt Covington murder opens door for suspect to testify against other men charged

Harvey last year told WOOD-TV that his shotgun fired when he tried to knock away Jacobson’s clipboard. Jacobson was treated at a hospital for a shoulder wound.

"It was an accident," Harvey insisted.

Jacobson had a different opinion.

"I think he knew what he was doing, and I think it was intentional," she said in September.