WA woman to serve time after 9-year-old son took gun to school, wounded classmate
A Washington woman has been sentenced to jail for her part in a shooting at an elementary school after a handgun her son had in his backpack went off, wounding a classmate.
Jamie Lee Chaffin was sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty to unlawful weapon possession charges, reports the Kitnap Sun.
On Feb. 22, 2012, Chaffin’s then 9-year-old son took a loaded handgun to school in his backpack, which went off wounding 8-year-old classmate, Amina Kocer Bowman, shattering her elbow and damaging her internal organs before the bullet came to rest in her spine.
According to Chaffin’s son, he took the gun to school to protect himself from classmates.
The boy told investigators that he took the gun from the dresser of Chaffin’s boyfriend, Douglas Bauer, during a visit the weekend before the shooting. According to the boy and his siblings, there were other unsecured firearms sitting around Bauer’s home.
Chaffin and Bauer each were charged with third-degree assault, however prosecutors dropped that charge against Chaffin, in return for her testimony against Bauer.
Chaffin faced two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm due to an 2007 felony conviction for trying to cash a stolen check which prohibited her from owning or having access to guns. Prosecutors later dropped her charges to one count of possession.
Defense attorney Michael Clark requested a sentence of less than the recommended 14 months, citing a statement from Chaffin’s therapist explaining that she was the victim of abuse earlier in her life, was unable to provide for herself, and was dependent on Bauer at the time of the shooting.
Judge Leila Mills ordered Chafiin to serve the full recommended sentence pointing outing out Chaffin’s criminal history as well as a statement from another juvenile who previously saw a gun in the glove box when traveling with Chaffin. According to the juvenile, Chaffin put her finger to her lips as a signal to not to say anything.
Mill’s explained that the testimony showed Chaffin was well aware of her firearm prohibition.
“I’m not finding there’s anything to justify or excuse this behavior,” Mills admonished Chaffin. “You were under orders not to have a firearm. It was a direct violation.”
Chaffin’s son agreed to a plea agreement with Kitsap County prosecutors, submitting to a year of court-supervised probation after taking responsibility for bringing the gun to school.
Charges against Bauer were thrown out in July by the state Supreme Court.
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