11-Year Old’s Murder Trial To Conclude Today

The 11-year old defendant is the youngest person tried for murder in almost nine decades.

Morgan County Courthouse

Photo: mar52laine (Flickr)

The 11-year old's trial will conclude at the Morgan County Courthouse today.

The murder trial for the 11-year old Martinsville boy charged with killing his 6-year old brother, continues today as a Morgan County Judge prepares to hear testimony from the defense.

The child, who was left home alone with his brother on June 30, originally said his younger sibling killed himself but later admitted to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department that he had in fact retrieved a .22-caliber rifle from his mother’s bedroom and shot his brother Andrew Frye in the head.

Defense Attorney John Boren said his client made a “fatal error,” in not knowing the gun was loaded.  Prosecutor Steve Sonnega said the boy was upset after refusing to clean the children’s bedroom but knew what he was doing.

“He’s 11 and somewhat immature,” Sonnega said.  “But at least when you watch him demonstrate fire arms and he talks about firearms, he says, ‘it was a bolt action,’ ‘it was a 22,’ ‘here’s how you load the magazine,’ so he showed a pretty good working knowledge of firearms.”

The defendant’s former stepfather, Randy Vandergriff, testified that he had taken the boy hunting more than a dozen times and had let him fire his shotguns, rifles and other various firearms but had also taught him to never point the gun at people and always assume a gun is loaded.

The trial is set to continue at 9 a.m. The boy’s parents also await trial on charges of negligence.

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