CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A 13-year-old was sentenced in the shooting death of his 14-year-old cousin in court on Tuesday.
The 13-year-old was accused of recklessly handling a shotgun when it went off and killed Surrell Gaines July 30 on Vine Street in Mt. Auburn.
A family member told FOX19 NOW that the teen was playing with a gun in a parking lot with his friends when it went off.
The teen agreed to a sentence of 4.5 years at the Department of Youth Services.
He was charged with reckless homicide, having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence.
The teen apologized for his actions and read a letter in court, telling the judge and the victim’s family that this was an accident.
“I’m sorry, I think about it every day," he said.
The 13-year-old has 13 prior contacts with Hamilton County Juvenile Court, an assistant prosecutor said.
The teen has convictions for burglary, theft and probation violation, court records show. He also has a failure to appear.
The boy’s family said he’s “more than what he looks like on paper”. His mother spoke to him and Surrell’s family in court.
“I know it was an accident. I just hope he learns from his mistakes," she said.
Surrell’s father and stepmother, still, clearly heartbroken, also addressed the teen.
“Kids with guns, it’s not right at all. I’m hoping and praying this is another chance for you. You have 4.5 years to sit there and think about this and make an impact. What legacy will you leave behind? because he will not leave a legacy to leave," the stepmother said.
After sentencing, Judge Melissa Powers echoed their pleas.
“Don’t throw your life away. You can see the amount of pain caused to someone by your own actions," she said.