(MARTINSVILLE) - A judge has acquitted a 12-year-old Indiana boy of murdering his 6-year-old brother, but has convicted him on a lesser juvenile charge of reckless homicide.
Morgan Superior Court Judge Christopher Burnham ruled Friday that the evidence did not show that the older boy had intended to kill his younger brother when he pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger June 30 at their Martinsville home.
A sentencing date had not been set. Until he is sentenced, the boy will be held in a juvenile detention facility and must undergo a psychiatric and behavioral evaluation so that probation officials can determine what punishment he should face.
The boy, who has a different last name than his brother, could be sentenced to several years in detention. The boy was 11 years old at the time of the shooting, but turned 12 last month.
Burnham can choose from a wide range of penalties from probation, special programs and juvenile detention. The boy could face detention until age18 and remain on probation until he is 21.
Defense Attorney John Boren tried to get charges against the boy dropped, but the judge denied the request.
In a videotaped police interview played in court Tuesday, the older boy said he didn't know a rifle was loaded when he pulled the trigger and shot his brother in the head.
The boy said in two other videotapes that his brother shot himself at their home near Martinsville. But an autopsy found that Andrew's arms were too short to have shot himself.
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