The misdemeanor charge against a Radford boy who accidentally shot and killed his older sister in 2011 was dismissed Wednesday, almost three years after authorities took the rare step of charging a 10-year-old.
The boy was charged with reckless handling of a firearm in the Aug. 12, 2011, death of Jessie Nicole Kessinger, 14, who was shot in their home on Preston Street.
The boy, who was 10 at the time of the shooting, pleaded no contest to the charge, but in February 2012, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Robert Viar chose not to convict the child, deferring disposition for two years and allowing the Department of Social Services to monitor the case.Those close to the family have said that news reports about a manhunt for convicted felon Edward DeHart Jr. near the family’s home scared the boy, prompting him to search for the key to the gun cabinet. He then retrieved a gun in order to protect himself and his sister while they were at home alone.
Rehak said at the time that if an adult had been the one to accidentally fire the gun, the charge would have been manslaughter. He said reckless handling was the least serious offense the boy could be charged with in the case.