Updated: 5:28 p.m.
The fate of the 12 year old Martinsville boy accused of shooting and killing his 6-year-old brother is now in the hands of a judge. The difference between a guilty and not-guilty charge rests on whether the boy knew the gun was loaded.
The boy, who was 11 at the time of the incident admits he pulled the trigger on the 22 caliber rifle that killed his brother. He also says he loaded the weapon but says he unloaded it prior to holding it to his brother’s head. The defense said the only thing his client is guilty of, is pointing a firearm.
“I don’t want him labeled as a killer in any way,” defense attorney John Boren said. “He’s going to carry this for the rest of his life. But, if he is only found guilty of pointing a firearm it’s a distinctive difference than being found guilty of homicide, murder, or reckless homicide.”
Most of the defense’s testimony Wednesday came from character witnesses. Former school teachers, case managers and family friends all had similar things to say; he was a nice, soft-spoken, helpful boy. He did receive counseling from 2007 to 2011 after an aggressive outburst. The prosecution maintains that unresolved emotional issues and his extensive knowledge of firearms make him culpable.
“He had a functional understanding that it wasn’t a toy, that it was a deadly weapon, and that you never ever play with a gun, point it at somebody, or pull the trigger,” he said.
The judge will make his decision Friday at 2:30 p.m. In addition to the possible rulings of murder or reckless homicide, the judge will also review the possibility of a lesser charge of pointing a firearm.
Meanwhile the state is charging the boy’s parents with negligence.