Teen charged in shooting death of Nelsonville boy, wanted to show off the laser pointer

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ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) – A 14-year-old boy from Nelsonville was charged Friday in Athens County Juvenile Court with reckless homicide. He is accused of causing the death of Eli Spangler by playing with a firearm. NBC4i.com is not naming the accused as he is charged as a juvenile and not an adult.

Spangler, 11, of Nelsonville, was killed on March 6 at a home in Nelsonville. Nelsonville Police Chief Scott Fitch filed the charges Friday after an investigation into Spangler’s death was conducted by the Nelsonville Police Department and Athens County Prosecutor’s Office. The reckless homicide charge in juvenile court would be a third-degree felony if charged as an adult.

“Our investigators and those with the Nelsonville Police Department have worked hand-in-hand during this investigation and I’m proud of the cooperative effort that has led to this charge being filed, “Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said in a news release.

According to a redacted incident report, an adult was home at the time of the shooting. During an interview at the police station, the adult was adamant about the gun being locked and put away.

While interviewing the accused shooter, the report noted that the 14-year-old noticed the cabinet that held the gun looked to be locked and he was able to pull it open. The report noted that the boy stated in the interview that he wanted to show off the gun’s laser, and he dropped the gun. The weapon fired when the boy picked it up.

After the interviews, the boy was released to his parents.

Blackburn said the charging decision was delayed pending the result of an autopsy. He added that the case remains under investigation and that additional charges against other suspects are possible.
A hearing in the case is scheduled with Athens County Juvenile Court Judge Zach Saunders for Tuesday
at 3 p.m.

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