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Accidental Killing Nets 5-Year Term

A Los Angeles man who accidently killed a 14-year-old girl was sentenced Tuesday to five years in state prison.

Terrence Russell, 21, pleaded guilty Sept. 28 to involuntary manslaughter in the June 29 shooting of Selena Whit, who was watching television in her Southeast San Diego home.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Bernard Revak also fined Russell $300 and denied probation.

His attorney, Miguel Auclair-Valdez, said Russell had been drinking and fell on the bed in the girl’s room while holding a gun and it went off, striking her in the head.

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“There was certainly no ill will between this child and the defendant. This is simply an accidental shooting,” Valdez said.

“What’s your client doing with a gun?” asked the judge.

Valdez said Russell was holding it for a friend.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Peter Deddeh said Russell was playing with the gun earlier and had cocked it and had aimed it at himself and someone else as a joke. Deddeh said Russell was drunk.

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Deddeh, who urged the maximum six-year term, said Russell demonstrated “an incredible amount of negligence.”

“The gun could not have gone off without it being cocked,” the prosecutor said.

“Tragically, a young girl was struck by a bullet, instantly killing her,” said Revak.

“You took a life, albeit accidentally, but you have to pay the price,” the judge told Russell.


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