Court Throws Out Woman’s Conviction Over Teen Shooting

Court Throws Out Woman's Conviction Over Teen Shooting

( – A North Carolina appeals court has overturned a woman’s manslaughter conviction related to the death of a teenager who shot himself with her gun. The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that legal requirements for firearms to be safely secured only applied if the weapon was loaded.

The case involves the conviction of Marion resident Kimberly Cable, who was sentenced to three years’ probation for involuntary manslaughter and two counts of misdemeanor failure to store a firearm to protect a minor in 2022. The incident occurred four years earlier at Cable’s home when her 16-year-old son invited a friend to stay overnight. Prosecutors accused Ms. Cable of leaving a .44 revolver unsecured in her bedroom.

At around 2 am, Cable’s son entered her bedroom and retrieved the gun to show his friend. He then placed it back where he found it. The friend later suggested a game of Russian roulette, retrieved the gun and one bullet from Ms. Cable’s bedroom, and proceeded to shoot himself in the head. When police responded, they found a total of 57 firearms in Cable’s home.

Facing two counts of failure to store a firearm to protect a minor, Cable argued that her revolver was not “in a condition that … can be discharged” and therefore the relevant legislation did not apply.

Court of Appeals Judge Jefferson Griffin agreed, noting that the law was ambiguous, and in such cases, courts must lean in favor of defendants. The three-judge panel furthermore determined that the manslaughter conviction must also be vacated because the firearm conviction no longer stood.

McDowell County District Attorney Ted Bell called on lawmakers to end the ambiguity and objected to the Appeals Court’s interpretation. He said the court made it “OK to have the gun sitting right next to the ammunition, unlocked with kids that are unsupervised.” Bell added that the current wording renders the legislation irrelevant.

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