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Norristown teen admits deadly shooting a friend while holding a gun recklessly

NORRISTOWN — A teenager in Norristown admitted that he had fatally shot a woman he considered his “sister” while recklessly handling firearms in the victim’s residence.

Victor Thomas Bell Jr., now 17 years old, 100 blocks on West Fornans Street, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor possession of firearms by a minor on January 3, 2021 in Montgomery County Courthouse on Thursday. Admitted. A deadly shooting of a 23-year-old Diamond Lahat in Lahat’s house at 1400 blocks on Markley Street.

Under state law, one person commits an involuntary manslaughter when he or she kills another person while acting in a reckless or grossly negligent manner.

“He admitted that he had directly killed Diamond Rahat through reckless or gross negligence. His actions with a loaded gun were reckless,” said Bell’s admission specific. Explaining the nature, Assistant District Attorney Kathleen McLaughlin said.

Based on the facts of plea read in court, Bell was about two feet away from Rahat when the gun was fired.

Bell, headed by defense counsel Shaka M. Johnson, spoke calmly in court but showed no outward sentiment during hospitalization.

“Are you doing this at your own free will?” Johnson asked Bell, who replied.

Judge William R. Carpenter accepted Bell’s guilty plea, but postponed the sentence. This allows court officials to complete a background check on Bell, who remains on bail until a judgment is issued.

Public plea means that Bell has not dealt with the prosecutor regarding his decision. After hearing the discussion from the lawyer, the judge will make a decision in a later procedure.

McLaughlin vowed to ask Bell for prison time, “due to the nature of the act and the immeasurable impact of Diamond’s death on families and communities.”

Bell can face up to 5 to 10 years in prison after being charged. However, state sentencing guidelines may allow fewer judgments.

Testimony revealed that Bell was on probation of the boy at the time of the deadly shooting. However, specific details regarding the juvenile delinquency were not revealed at the hearing on Thursday.

In exchange for his guilty plea for manslaughter, the charges of a more serious third-class murder against Bell are dismissed.

Rahat and Bell’s relatives were in court to witness Bell’s entry.

Bell, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was charged as an adult under state law that allowed persons over the age of 15 who were charged with certain violent or serious felony to be automatically charged as adults. ..

Earlier this year, Carpenter denied Bell’s bid to move Bell’s proceedings from the Adult Criminal Court to the Juvenile Court. There is more emphasis on rehabilitation and treatment than punishment.

McLaughlin opposed the transfer to the juvenile court.

The investigation began at about 1:39 pm on January 3, when Norristown police responded to a residence in 1400 block of Markley Street asking for a report of the shooting. According to a criminal accusation filed by Todd Richard County detective, police officers arrived and found that Rahat was sitting on the edge of the bed and had a gunshot wound on his head.

According to court documents, investigators observed and fixed a .40 caliber pistol from Springfield Arms on the right side of Rahat’s body.

Lahat was taken to Paoli Hospital, where he was initially put to life support, but later sentenced to death, court documents show.

Autopsy determined that Rahat died as a result of a single gunshot wound in his head, and the method of death was determined to be murder.

Investigation revealed that the pistol was registered with Lahat.

According to the criminal accusation, the detective who handled the crime scene observed a “potential bullet attack” on the wall in Lahat’s bedroom and recovered one .40 caliber cartridge casing in the bedroom.

“The location of this strike would be the same as sitting when Rahat was shot,” Richard claimed in an arrest affidavit, and the detective also had a body camera video footage from a police officer who responded to the scene. He added that he had reviewed it.

“The first video shows Rahat sitting on the floor, lying on his back behind the bed, which is consistent with sitting on the edge of the bed when he was shot.” Richard insisted.

According to court documents, Lahat’s 69-year-old grandfather told the detective that he was in his office at the time of the shooting and knew that Lahat was in the bedroom with his friend “Vic.” After hearing the gunshot, his grandfather told the detective that he stepped into the hallway and met Bell, who was leaving the bedroom and heading for the front door of the house.

At the time, Bell said, “She was shot,” and left home, according to the arrest affidavit.

The victim’s grandfather told the detective that he had entered the bedroom and observed Rahat’s gun in a bed near her body, and he called 911.

According to court documents, county and Norristown detectives interviewed Bell in front of his father late January 3. Bell told her detective that she had known Lahat for six years and he considered her “her sister”.

According to the arrest document, Bell lay in bed with a gun next to her while he and Lahat were alone in the bedroom at the time of the shooting and Lahat was involved in a facetime call with a friend. I told the detective.

According to criminal accusations, Bell claimed to have picked up a gun and held it, while Lahat asked her to hand over a “Dutch.” Bell claimed she grabbed the “Dutch” and turned back to give her to Lahat. At that time, Bell had a gun in her right hand and a “Dutch” in her left hand, according to a statement to her detective.

“When Bell handed the’Dutch’to Diamond, he said the gun fired and attacked Lahat,” Richard claimed, presuming that Bell was about two feet away from Lahat when the gun fired. did.

According to court documents, Bell agreed to search for a cell phone in front of his father. According to criminal accusations, during a telephone inspection, the detective found several photos and videos of Bell allegedly exhibiting various firearms.

In one of the videos, allegedly recorded around 12:51 pm on January 3, according to the arrest affidavit, Bell wore a black ski mask and put a .40 caliber pistol in a balaclava on his cell phone. Indicates that you are holding it while pointing. Detectives pointed out that the video was recorded about 48 minutes before Rahat was shot.

Norristown teen admits deadly shooting a friend while holding a gun recklessly

Source link Norristown teen admits deadly shooting a friend while holding a gun recklessly

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