Juvenile charges have been filed in a recent tragic accident in New Jersey which occurred when a 14-year-old boy allegedly shot his 12-year-old half-brother while playing with a pistol. The shooting reportedly occurred inside their home late last month. The victim’s body was purportedly dragged out to a neighborhood sidewalk, where he was found by a neighbor. Most recently, the teenager turned himself in to authorities and now faces juvenile charges of manslaughter.

Authorities say the older brother was playing with a pistol that belonged to his mother, who is a corrections officer. While toying with the weapon, he supposedly fired the gun and a bullet landed in his half-brother’s chest. He has since been charged with aggravated manslaughter, possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes and hindering the investigation.

While this is a tragedy that will likely haunt the accused boy and his family for the rest of their lives, there are several questions that can be raised about the specific circumstances of the incident. For example, the boys’ mother was home during the time of the shooting, though her role in the incident, if any, has not been reported. However, she is currently working with investigators.

During the course of a pre-trial investigation, the defense team scrutinizes all available evidence in order to find inconsistencies that may lead to some charges being reduced or eliminated. As the teen prepares for trial, it will be necessary to clarify these details, as well as any other inconsistencies that may exist. This matter may indeed be an occasion for the New Jersey juvenile justice system to slow down and take a close and careful look at all of the facts and circumstances. The teen has the right to tell his side of the story in answer to the juvenile charges as the trial moves forward. Perhaps the legal system will find a way to prevent an already horrific accident from becoming even more unfortunate.

Source: WABC-TV New York, “Teen charged with manslaughter in brother’s death,” March 8, 2012