Juvenile Justice

Judge Acquits Boy, 12, in Murder of Brother, 6, But Finds Him Guilty of Reckless Homicide


Saying that there was a lack of intent, an Indiana judge today acquitted a 12-year-old boy of murdering his 6-year-old brother, but found him guilty, as a juvenile, of reckless homicide.

The unidentified boy initially told authorities that his brother had shot himself. But an investigation determined that the 6-year-old’s arms were too short to have fired the rifle at himself from a distance of 3 feet, the Associated Press reports.

The 12-year-old subsequently changed his story and said he had loaded the gun earlier but then, he thought, unloaded it using the bolt action to do so, not realizing he’d left a round in the firing chamber. He admittedly threatened his brother with the gun, ordering him to clean the room they shared.

A prosecutor argued that the youth’s actions showed a consciousness of guilt. He also told Morgan Superior Court Judge Christopher Burnham that a sister had said the 12-year-old threatened his siblings previously with a gun concerning their chores, resulting in their keeping knives in their rooms for self-defense.

Burnham looked at video of the 12-year-old’s statements to authorities and listened to a recording of his panicked 911 call on the day of the June 30 killing at the family’s Martinsville home before ruling.

The youth will be sentenced by Burnham at a later date.

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