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Lithia Teen Facing Adult Manslaughter Charge After Allegedly Slaying Classmate

A Lithia teenager will be tried as an adult on charges that he unintentionally shot to death a friend late last year.

The 15-year-old was at the home of a friend with three of his classmates when deputies say the teen who resided at the residence picked the lock of the master bedroom in order to use the toilet in an adjacent bathroom.

Investigators say the teen failed to lock the door after he left, allowing the defendant to go into the bathroom after he clogged the toilet in another area of the home. Initially in search of a toilet plunger, investigators say the teens found a personal firearm owned by the homeowner, who is an officer of the Tampa Police Department.

While one teen was entertaining himself with video games, the three others allegedly decided to use the firearm to frighten him. Noting that the firearm was without a magazine, the teens said they believed the gun to be unloaded. The defendant allegedly took the firearm to the fourth teen, brandishing it in front of the others.

Shortly after the defendant wondered aloud whether the gun was loaded, investigators say it fired a round that was in the chamber. The round struck one of the teens in the back of the head, killing him instantly.

The defendant was originally arrested as a juvenile that day, but prosecutors chose to charge him as an adult after reviewing the case. He was again arrested last week and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on a single charge of manslaughter with a weapon. The defendant was released half an hour later after posting a bond of $15,000.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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