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Judge grants bond for teen charged in Halloween shooting

Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 12:49 PM
Last updated Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 3:07 AM
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Columbia County Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan granted bond Friday for a 14-year-old boy charged in the shooting death of a 13-year-old girl.

Kristen Burnett, 13, was shot and killed in her home Wednesday.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Kristen Burnett, 13, was shot and killed in her home Wednesday.


On Halloween night, the teen, whose name is not being released because of his age, shot and killed Kristen Burnett, police said. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Flanagan granted the teen, who is held in the Regional Youth Detention Center, a $10,000 bond at a hearing Friday morning.

“It looks like it was an accident,” Flanagan said after hearing authorities testify about the shooting.

Kristen, a Grovetown Middle School eighth-grader, and three friends were hanging out at her house. Her mother, Miriam Lunsford, was not home, and her stepfather, Steven Lunsford Jr., is a soldier deployed to Afghanistan.

The boy found a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot in the master bedroom.

“She was sitting in a chair in the dining room at her laptop,” Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said. “She was struck in the head by the projectiles from the shotgun.”

The teen “accidentally discharged” the gun in the den and hit Kristen in the dining room 22-25 feet away, Grovetown Department of Public Safety Capt. Donovan Jones said.

“This is the third teenage death we’ve had in three years,” Flanagan said. “In each incident, there was a gun in the home and no parents were at home. The guns were not secured or locked up.”

Eleanor “Ellè” Kelly, 13, of Harlem, was accidentally shot in the face March 29 by Zach Provance, then 14. The boy was showing off his father’s gun at his Keener Street home when it went off.

Eleanor died the next day, and Provance was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Aaron Schmidt, of Harlem, was sentenced to life in prison in March after being found guilty of murder for the Jan. 31, 2011, shooting death of Alana May Calahan, 14. Schmidt, also 14, used Alana’s father’s gun to shoot her in her dining room and then dragged her body to woods behind her home.

After this week’s homicide, grief counselors were at the school Thursday and Friday to help Kristen’s classmates cope with her death.

Kristen was well-liked and friendly, Grovetown Middle Principal Tom Smallwood said.

“I haven’t heard anyone say one word that was unkind about her,” he said. “She was super popular with a lot of kids.”

A free spirit who liked to skateboard with friends, Kristen also was funny and loved rainbows, the principal said.

Pupils are planning to pin rainbows to their clothing as a tribute to the eighth-grader.

Classmates also were making banners with handwritten messages for Kristen to hang in the school.

“You could just tell from the reaction, she touched a lot of kids,” he said.

Comments (10) Add comment
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single parent
395
Points
single parent 11/02/12 - 01:26 pm
8
7
You got to be Kidding

“This is the third teenage death we’ve had in three years,” Flanagan said. “In each incident there was a gun in the home and no parents were at home. The guns were not secured or locked up.”
Geez the gun was not locked? First of all you went through the house and found a gun in someone else's house. Second you pointed at someone. Third you shot someone. I can guarantee the "BOY" was not in any way mental. Ridiculous!
I leave mine laying on my dresser and any one that enters my house knows not to touch my guns let alone anything else in "MY" house! I am seeing more excuses than solutions already. What difference does it make if it was locked or the parents were not home? I can bet you a car that young man knew better. I have been dealing with weapons my entire life and I have yet to see one jump off the counter, run down the hall and shoot somebody.
The issue here is to pass on the displine of being an idiot and the correct way of thinking. Bail really?
Bottom line no matter what happens this younglady has already had her rights violated, bail!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 11/02/12 - 02:54 pm
5
2
Just heart-breaking. I don't

Just heart-breaking. I don't expect kids to think, act, or reason to any sufficient degree, they are kids and their brains are not developed completely. I expect an adult to secure a firearm in a way that would prevent a random tragedy of this nature from happening. I can't say I would punish an adult for neglect for the way they left the gun loaded in the bedroom either. Without hi-jacking this into something it's not, I'll just say, I'm sad for Groovytown and grieve for the families.

allhans
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allhans 11/02/12 - 02:57 pm
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The youth should not have

The youth should not have been "looking through the house"..what was he looking FOR?
Why was there no adult supervision?

TrulyWorried
16067
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TrulyWorried 11/02/12 - 03:09 pm
7
1
Allowing bond

was a good thing in a horrible situation - Youth Dev. Center is the place that I would not recommend for anyone - and I am not defending the young man in any way. It is indeed very unfortunate things had to happen the way they did. The mother will probably never live down the circumstances. The parents of the boy and he himself will have to deal with this the rest of their lives. May God give all of them the strength to endure this terrible tragedy.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 11/02/12 - 05:18 pm
0
1
I don't care what anyone
Unpublished

says. A 14 year old boy with a gun was a planned incident. He deserves whatever punishment that will lock him away past his 21st birthday. You DON'T play with guns and point them at another HUMAN BEING for ANY reason.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 11/02/12 - 06:13 pm
1
1
So did he load it or found it loaded??
Unpublished

Been reported both ways now.

This is exactly one of the reasons why kids aren't allowed in my home without me there. And kids lie and sneak, so guns, medications, alcohol, valuables, etc... are locked up anytime I am away and sometimes when I'm there too!

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 11/02/12 - 06:14 pm
1
1
Single parent, that's just CC.
Unpublished

Not counting the ones in RC and the rest of the CSRA killed from parents not locking up guns or supervising children around them.

KSL
140402
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KSL 11/02/12 - 07:20 pm
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3
Responsible kids who grow up

Responsible kids who grow up around guns know so much better how to behave around them. Why the young girl allowed a friend to wander about her house is beyond me.

KSL
140402
Points
KSL 11/02/12 - 08:12 pm
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1
Why he didn't know to not

Why he didn't know not to point a gun at someone is beyond me. He was 14. He should have known better.

KSL
140402
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KSL 11/03/12 - 12:47 am
6
1
Oh my

I got a tsd for posting the 14 year old boy should have known better than to point a gun at someone else. He should have known better than to go snooping around in his friend's mother's bedroom. What in the world is wrong with teens of today?

draksig
167
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draksig 11/03/12 - 03:45 am
6
0
What was the boy doing

What was the boy doing searching through the parents bedroom? What was he doing in the bedroom in the first place? Why were 3 teens (at least one boy) in the home of a 13 year old girl with no adult supervision?

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 11/03/12 - 05:45 am
3
1
Been Wondering

I have also been wondering, the boy was looking around the master bedroom, she was at the dining room table on her lap top. So, what were the other two doing?

rugerguy
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rugerguy 11/03/12 - 09:51 am
3
0
So tragic

And AVOIDABLE. We need to educate kids about the potential danger of playing with guns. They learn fire burns, knives cut, and crossing the road with your eyes closed will kill you. Why don't we teach children to respect guns and leave them alone? Show them some gunshot wounds and let them fire a real gun to see how serious it can be to shoot someone. Do it now.

HenryWalker3rd
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HenryWalker3rd 11/03/12 - 11:41 am
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Just prayers of peace and
Unpublished

Just prayers of peace and strength for everyone affected by this situation.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 11/03/12 - 11:58 am
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More down votes??
Unpublished

Anyone who has a different view than you or offers a different opinion and asks for your input? Obviously there are other posters too you can't handle. Grow up.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 11/03/12 - 12:57 pm
0
0
think people
Unpublished

halloween night. lots of people are out and about. she must have invited him over. she was on her laptop probably unaware of what he was doing. tragic accidents do happen.

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