Teen pleads guilty to manslaughter
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) ” A 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of a 9-year-old acquaintance on Thursday and was sentenced to 10 years in custody, over the emotional objections of the victim’s father.
Eric Stoneman had been charged with murder in the July shooting of Taylor DeMarco but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in a deal with prosecutors. He could be paroled when he is 22.
“I do not accept this plea agreement,” Taylor’s father, Bill DeMarco, said during the sentencing. “Two years is not enough. Ten years is not enough.” Then he sat down and kissed a frame portrait of Taylor.
A 13-year-old witness told investigators that he, Stoneman and Taylor were playing at the witness’ home when an argument broke out. Stoneman left and returned with a .22-caliber automatic pistol, the witness said.
According to a police report and court testimony, Stoneman had pointed the gun at himself and briefly gave it to Taylor, who handed it back. Moments later, the gun went off.
The 13-year-old originally told investigators that Stoneman forced Taylor to beg for his life, but he later changed his story.
Stoneman told police it was an accident.
Stoneman pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter, menacing and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to the Division of Youth Services until age 18. He will then start the adult portion of his sentence, a six-year prison term.
As part of the plea bargain, Stoneman agreed not to seek parole until he is 22.
Security in the courtroom was tight. At an earlier hearing, Bill DeMarco had threatened Stoneman and was ejected; at another hearing, he spoke harshly to him during a break and then left voluntarily.
Five deputies were in the courtroom Thursday and two others were in a back corridor in SWAT gear.