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Mr. X June 24th, 2013 10:38 AM

Mother charged with murder after daughter accidently kills herself

New Orleans police have booked a 28-year-old St. Roch woman with second-degree murder after her 5-year-old daughter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound she suffered Sunday morning in her home.

According to police spokesperson Hilal Williams, the young girl was taken off life support and died late Sunday afternoon. The child's name has not been released by police.

Police booked Laderika Smith after she admitted she locked her daughter inside a bedroom alone at their home in the 2200 block of North Galvez Street while the mother went to the store. When she returned home, Smith found her daughter lying on the bedroom floor with a gunshot wound to the head. Police arrived at the home about 11 a.m. and the child was transported to the hospital.

A preliminary investigation indicates the child somehow found a .38-caliber revolver that was inside the home and accidentally shot herself in the head, Williams said. Smith confessed to having a gun inside the home, and police recovered the weapon.

Smith was originally booked with cruelty to a juvenile, but the charges were changed after the child died. In a statement police said, Smith's negligence directly resulted in the death of her daughter. According to police records, Sunday is also Smith's birthday.

Two minds on this - I think it's good that police are finally cracking down on parents who don't properly secure their weapons, but on the other this - legally - isn't the proper charge. Involuntary manslaughter would be a much better fit then second-degree murder.

Pinkie-Dawn June 24th, 2013 11:13 AM

I don't see how this is murder. The girl accidentally killed herself with the gun she found in her bedroom. Involuntary manslaughter is the correct use for this scenario.

Shiny Celebi June 24th, 2013 11:32 AM

Second Degree murder is a bit much, but the mother should've made sure her gun was properly locked up, because a 5-year old probably would not understand it was dangerous.

Purple Materia June 24th, 2013 1:57 PM

While I do agree the gun owner should be punished for not taking proper care of their firearms and the parent for not keeping a closer look on her child, second degree murder is a bit much.

My heart still goes to the mother though, considering it was an accident.

Limerent June 24th, 2013 7:46 PM

The poor child, how sad it is to have life cut short in such a tragic fashion, and the mother, who will live with the guilt for the rest of her life. However, my opinion is that this was not murder simply an accident, but the negligence with firearms that resulted in this should be punished nearly as harshly to murder. Teach these idiots to be responsible with their guns to really improve safety standards, unless you like prison showers. So yes the charge is incorrect but I believe that a lesser charge might not have suitable enough punishment, so instead they should really clamp down on irresponsible gun owners. This is America though, so not likely.

Ludger June 24th, 2013 7:52 PM

That's's sad to think that the gun in the house was there to potentially protect the mother and her daughter and was ultimately the end of her daughter. Just terrible. Should have just taken the kid to the store with her. I know kids can make shopping slower, but still...though now's not the time for what if's.

My heart still goes out to the mother though. It was an accident, and no parent should have to bury a child...and then you have all the attachements with the law after that which only make it worse for her. Just awful...

Belldandy June 24th, 2013 8:32 PM

In Canada, this would never be treated as second-degree murder.


- First Degree Murder implies there was a plan to kill the person prior to the murder
- Second Degree Murder implies that the victim was intentionally killed; however, the perpetrator did not originally plan to kill the victim ("spur of the moment")
- Manslaughter is the unintentional death of a person at the hands of someone else, proven by lack of intent
- Homicide is an abnormal / speculative death of an individual that can be said should not have occurred

Going by that, the mother did not plan to kill her child, nor did she have any intent to begin with to kill her. This rules out all possible murder charges and therefore drops the charge to manslaughter, given that her recklessness / ignorance led to her child's unintentional death.

America has similar definitions, if I recall.

Mr. X June 24th, 2013 10:32 PM

We share similar ones, but split manslaughter into two kinds - Voluntary, and involuntary.

The laws differ a bit because of this.

First degree remains, pretty much, the same in the US.

Second Degree is split into Second Degree and Voluntary Manslaughter. The diffrence between the two depends on if the person was emotionally of mentally distressed when they commit the crime. Voluntary is sometimes called Third Degree murder.

In the US, Involuntary Manslaughter would be similar to Manslaughter in Canada but at the same time more broad. For the US, it would be for unintended deaths caused by the intentional or negligent actions of another. This definition is what lets a person be charged due to their inaction or idiocy.

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