14-year-old Grovetown boy given probation for shooting, killing friend

The teen charged with involuntary manslaughter stood before the judge Friday morning in front of his family and friends awaiting a decision. (WRDW-TV)

The teen charged with involuntary manslaughter stood before the judge Friday morning in front of his family and friends awaiting a decision. (WRDW-TV)

Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The accidental death of 13-year-old Kristen Burnette by one of her close friends last October has been put to rest in the court system.

The teen charged with involuntary manslaughter stood before the judge Friday morning in front of his family and friends awaiting a decision.

"He will have a probated sentence and that means that he does not go to jail at this point," said Adam King, the attorney for the charged teen.

Although he did not receive jail time, he will have to put in two years of probation along with ongoing counseling.

The judge also ordered the teen to speak at area schools on gun safety to make sure incidents like this don't happen again.

Ashley Lunsford, Kristen's mother, says the teen and her daughter were close friends.

"He really cared about her," she said.

She says she just wants the teen to get help and to really learn more about guns and how dangerous they can be.

That was the message in the courtroom as the judge made his final recommendations.

"It's going to start with the parents first and them having an awareness, even if they love or hate guns, they just need to be aware of how dangerous they can be," Lunsford said.

For Lunsford, it will be a lesson that she will likely never forget, and one that she will share with other parents.

Before that final decision was made, Judge Doug Flanagan spoke to those in the courtroom saying, "Sometimes the adults have to go the extra mile to make sure that even though they are teenagers and we think they are grown, they are not grown."

According to Columbia County, this is the third case in less than a year that involved juveniles at home with firearms.

Initial report:

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- The 14-year-old Grovetown boy who shot and killed his friend last year will not be sent to the Augusta Youth Development Campus.

On Friday morning, a judge handed the boy 24 months of probation and counseling. He was also told he has to talk to area schools about gun safety.

Kristen Burnette, 13, was shot and killed at her home on Halloween. She, the boy and two others had just come back from a party when the boy found Kristen's mother's gun.

Investigators say he came out of the room and attempted to clear the gun when it went off and hit Kristen.

The boy was facing involuntary manslaughter charges and a year in the YDC.


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