A judge will rule Friday in the case of a 12-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting his 6-year-old brother.
Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday morning with Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega arguing the evidence showed the then-11-year-old boy knew what he was doing when he fatally shot Andrew Frye, 6, in June at their home near Martinsville.
Defense attorney John Boren asked the judge to find the boy not guilty, saying there wasn't enough evidence to support juvenile charges of murder and reckless homicide.
Judge Christopher Burnham denied Boren's motion, saying he couldn't yet find the boy not guilty as long as there was some evidence to support the charges.
Boren presented his case Wednesday afternoon. He admits the boy did point the rifle at his brother, but said the boy did not believe it was loaded.
"I don't want this child labeled as a killer in any way. He is going to carry this for the rest of his life," Boren said. "If he's only found guilty of pointing a firearm, it's a distinctive difference than being found guilty of murder."
Martinsville police Officer Dennis Nail, who is a firearms instructor, testified that it is possible the boy accidentally shot his brother.
"Vice President (Dick) Cheney was in a shooting accident. He didn't mean to shoot the fellow. Bobby Knight didn't mean to shoot 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."
But prosecutors have said they believe the boy was trying to intimidate his brother into cleaning up his messy room and that he understood the gravity of the situation.
"When he points the weapon at this brother, he is aware of the high probability that death is a result," Sonnega said. "Firearms are not toys. They can be used for good and they can be used for evil. It is our argument that he knows the difference."
If convicted, the boy could face several years in detention.
Burnham said he will rule in the case Friday at 2:30 p.m.
The boys' mother, Amanda Vandagrifft, 28, is charged with neglect of a dependent causing death and three additional counts of neglect of a dependent because she left the gun where the children had access to it, authorities said. Her boyfriend, Matthew Boulden, is charged with three counts of neglect of a dependent.
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