Former officer sentenced to at least 7 years in prison after 3-year-old fatally shot himself
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A former Centerville officer was sentenced Monday to 7 years with a maximum sentence of 10.5 years in prison after a 3-year-old got his hands on a gun and accidentally fatally shot himself, according to court documents.
Benjamin Bishop pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter for the death of 3-year-old Jared Green Jr.
Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsay Sheehan says Bishop, the boyfriend of the toddler’s mother, left a gun he legally owned on the windowsill in the bedroom of a home on Park Avenue in March.
Once officers and firefighters arrived, they found the 3-year-old suffering from a gunshot wound, Lt. Jon Richardson with the Hamilton Police Department said.
Green was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he died, Lt. Richardson added.
On Monday, Green’s family members and other loved ones attended Bishop’s sentencing and addressed the court.
His family said he was a happy, loving, autistic toddler.
“Jared Green Jr. was only 3 years old,” his mother said. “In those three years, he laughed hard, loved hard, played hard, and hugged even harder.”
“I always wondered what you were going to be when you grew up, and now I know for certain God chose you to be an angel,” she said later in court.
On Monday, Judge Noah Powers said that the gun had a round in the chamber and that Bishop had one other gun in the house that was left out.
The family said they gave Bishop a trigger lock to use for his guns.
“That trigger lock should have been put on the gun that Ben left unsecured on the windowsill that was just above little Jared’s mom’s bed.. exactly where he would sit each and every night just before bed,” Green’s grandmother Michelle Rodriguez said.
Green’s mother said that she had one final moment with her son.
“Jared looked at me one last time before squeezing my hand and seizing. I knew right then he was gone. Two minutes is all it took for him to go from laughing, running up the stairs to bleeding out and scared,” Green’s mother said.
After hearing Green’s family speak, Bishop addressed the courtroom and apologized to the families and the court.
“I would like to officially take this opportunity to officially, in the most sincere way possible, to apologize to the Green and Rodriguez families for the actions that I have caused and all the pain and the suffering that I have caused them, and I would also further like to apologize to the court. I am in full understanding and responsibility of my actions, and I am in full understanding in compliance of whatever judgment that this court sees necessary,” Bishop said.
In addition to the time he must spend in prison, Bishop was sentenced to two years of probation. Bishop was also ordered to pay $5,318 in restitution for a headstone for the toddler.
“For any person, any responsible human, to do something like this is just unfathomable. It’s particularly the case when you have somebody whose been trained as a peace officer,” Judge Noah Powers said.
Documents say Benjamin Bishop was indicted in June and initially faced charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, and endangering children. Reckless homicide and endangering children charges were dismissed as a part of the plea agreement, the documents say.
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