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“The court finds that the state failed to sufficiently prove that probable cause exists to find that (the defendant) is responsible for the commission of reckless homicide,” Capizzi’s ruling states.
“The distinction between reckless homicide and negligent homicide is whether the defendant acted with heedless indifference to consequences, disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk, or whether a defendant failed to perceive or avoid a risk due to a substantial lapse of due care,” according to the ruling.
A mutual friend of both the defendant and the victim testified he was watching the two on a FaceTime video and the defendant was “messing around” with a gun. The friend said the defendant was pointing the gun in Channell’s direction while the victim smiled, court records show.
The friend said “he heard a bang and saw a flash, after which point his phone screen went black,” according to court records. The friend then said the defendant said “Oh no” with emotion and sadness.
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Kettering police arrived shortly after the shooting, records show.
Prosecutors failed to contradict the defendant’s testimony that he had removed the magazine from the gun before he began playing with it before the shooting, and he did not believe a bullet was in the chamber, Capizzi wrote.
The judge also said evidence indicated the accused teen was unsure how the weapon discharged.
“While the events….were undeniably catastrophic and heartbreaking, the court cannot find that a person who accidentally shot another with a gun that he believed to be unloaded by his own hand and therefore harmless acted with heedless indifference to consequences while disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk,” according to the ruling.
Capizzi set a pretrial date of May 18.
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