Thursday, January 8, 2015

Missouri Woman Charged in Grandson's Accidental Shooting

Cheryle J. Spaeth

from ssgmarkcr

    I came upon this and it caught my eye.  Its a pretty good example of prosecuting improperly stored firearms in states that don't have a real solid child access law.  Missouri's law isn't very clearly written IMHO,

"Missouri prohibits any person from recklessly selling, leasing, loaning, giving away or delivering a firearm to a person underage 18 without the consent of the child’s custodial parent or guardian.1

State administrative regulations may govern the safe storage of firearms in other locations."

    But other avenues are available. 

WILDWOOD • Police say Cheryle J. Spaeth went to take a shower while her three grandchildren played in her bedroom last August. Soon, she heard a gunshot.

Her 6-year-old grandson had been shot in the leg after one of the children apparently got a handgun from atop a high dresser.

The boy's injury Aug. 22 wasn't life-threatening, police say. He was treated at a hospital and released.

Spaeth was charged Friday with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, a felony. Spaeth, 60, has not yet been arrested so no mugshot was available Tuesday. She could not be reached for comment. Bail is set at $25,000.

The shooting happened in the 18300 block of Rathbun Hills Road in Wildwood, in a home Spaeth shares with her adult son and grandchildren.

The gun had not been in a holster or locked up. 

"The kids were playing," County Police Officer Shawn McGuire said. "I'm guessing she thought (the gun) was high enough that they couldn't get to it."

According to a county detective's probable cause statement, police say the boy shot himself. Yet officers say the children in the room were scared when police arrived and details were difficult to sort out.

The children's father, who was in another room of the house at the time, heard the shot too and rushed into the room to find his bleeding son. The father owns several guns, but it wasn't immediately clear who owned the gun on the dresser in the grandmother's room.

Endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree is punishable in Missouri by up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The crime is defined, in part, as "knowingly (acting) in a manner that creates a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child less than seventeen years of age."

Police say the four-month-old case ended up at the prosecutor's office only in the last few days because the Ferguson unrest and police detail following the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown had taken so much of the police department's time.


  1. It will be hard to prove that she.... "knowingly (acting) in a manner that creates a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child less than seventeen years of age."

    1. Are you kidding? Leaving a gun where kids can get it isn't enough proof for you?

  2. Don't need a safe storage laws to show endangerment of a child.

  3. Speaking of "kids and guns," I had somehow missed this video until today. I laughed so hard I'm afraid I cracked a rib.

    1. Yep, that's an admirable sense of humor you've got there, Kurt.