An 8-year-old boy who shot and killed a grandmother in Slaughter, Louisiana on Thursday night appeared in court on Monday. Marie Smothers, the victim, is alternately described as 87 or 90 years old.
She was shot in the back of the head as she was watching television with her own 0.38 handgun. Smothers was pronounced dead at the scene.
However, because of the boy’s age, he doesn’t face criminal charges, and the court proceedings were not a criminal matter. He is now back with his parents.
According to a report by WWL, Loyola Law Professor Dave Ciolino explained that the 8-year-old who shot grandmother Marie Smothers is exempt from criminal punishment because he’s under age 10.
However, the juvenile court can request counseling or other services for the family.
The proceedings were closed. However, Local 10 talked to East Feliciana Parish District Attorney Samuel D’Aquilla.
He explained that the child will continue to live with his family but will be provided with state services. “We’re still trying to figure out how to help this juvenile and his parents,” D’Aquilla said.
The 8-year-old will likely enter a non-criminal state assistance program called Families in Need of Services (FINS).
As I previously reported, the boy gave a conflicting version of what happened Thursday night. However, by Saturday, the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office had linked the shooting to a violent video game. In that statement, they said:
“[I]nvestigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game on the Play Station III Grand Theft Auto IV, a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred.”
The game is clearly marked M for mature players only.
D’Aquilla told Local 10 that the gun was in a purse or pouch where the boy could easily get to it.
The combination led to tragedy. Apparently, the 8-year-old was playing when he shot grandmother Marie Smothers from a distance of three or four feet away.