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Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011
(MARTINSVILLE) - A judge will rule Friday in the case of a 12-year-old boy accused of shooting and killing his 6-year-old brother.
Morgan County Judge Christopher Burnham said he will rule Friday afternoon whether the boy is guilty of murder and reckless homicide charges in the June 30 shooting of 6-year-old Andrew Frye.
The boy, who has a different last name than his brother, is being tried as a juvenile, but still could face several years in detention if he's convicted. The boy was 11 years old at the time of the shooting, but turned 12 last month.
If the boy is convicted, 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.
Day two of the murder trial began with Boren painting a picture of a nice boy.
Gun safety instructor testifies
The first witness for the defense was Martinsville Police Officer Dennis Nail. Nail is a gun safety instructor and knew the boy from church. He told the court he has known the boy since he was 5 and said he was a "model kid."
Nail demonstrated how someone could clear a .22-caliber rifle and mistakenly leave a round in the chamber.
"Vice President Cheney was in a shooting accident. He didn't mean to shoot the fellow. Bobby Knight didn't mean to the fellow he was hunting with, but it happened. Those things happen," he said. "These are adults who are trained and used firearms on a regular basis to hunt with. This is a child."
Nail also testified that the boy had been suspended from school for threatening a student with a knife. Nail was the investigating officer who handled the case.
Nail said the boy told him he found the knife at his bus stop an did not take the knife to school. He later went to the bus stop with Nail and showed him where he left the knife.
A counselor who saw the 12-year-old until January said the 12-year-old showed defiance toward his parents but was well-mannered and respectful during their sessions. She did say the boy had difficulty with his father figure and would yell at his parents, but not show violence.
A teacher for the 12-year-old testified the boy was "a kind-hearted student" and showed concern for his younger brother. The teacher did say the 12-year-old was less mature than his classmates, but was intelligent.
Several other witnesses said the boy wasn't as mature as others his age and would sulk if he didn't get his own way.
He had been referred to a counseling agency when he was 8-years-old after hitting and shoving children at school.
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