Why a Hamilton woman who admitted to a party shooting death is facing 3 years or less in prison

Credit: Journal News

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Justice for J. R. Boggs rally

Credit: Journal News

A woman who has admitted to shooting and killing a man in a Hamilton home in December faces 36 months or less in prison, which has upset the victim’s family members and friends. But prosecutor’s say the accidental circumstances make that appropriate.

Aerial Katelynn Brazzell, 21, was accused of killing Bennie Shaun Boggs Jr., 16, on Dec. 17. Boggs was shot at 1:20 a.m. at her residence in the 200 block of Cereal Avenue. She was indicted for reckless homicide with a gun specification in February by a Butler County grand jury.

Brazzell pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday to the third-degree felony, and the gun specification, which adds more time to a sentence, was dismissed. Judge Jennifer McElfresh set sentencing for July 29.

Reckless homicide is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 36 months in prison. Brazzell is free on $35,000 bond.

Family and friends of Boggs protested outside the courthouse on Thursday for what they viewed as a lenient punishment.

But Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said this case could have been indicted as a misdemeanor negligent homicide. Boggs brought the gun that killed him to the residence where five people, including Brazzell, met up, and “there is no evidence of animosity, hatred, argument or problems between him and the girl who shoots him,” Gmoser said.

A statement of facts read in court by Assistant Prosecutor Jon Marshall backed up reckless homicide charge.

Boggs and Brazzell made plans via social media to socialize on the afternoon of Dec. 16. Photographs associated with the Boggs’ Facebook account show him already in possession of the Glock handgun with the green laser sighting, according to Marshall.

Videos found on cell phones of people at the party showed Boggs with the Glock and Brazzell.

“The videos show the magazine is not in the firearm, and further shows people including the defendant pulling the trigger of the gun, with no gunshot resulting,” according to the statement of facts.

At 1:05 a.m. on Dec. 17 a cell phone video shows Boggs making the following statements: “I took the magazine out of my Glock. I don’t want to accidentally shoot it. There’s a bunch of kids in the house and I am drinking.”

Approximately 30 minutes later Brazzell came into the room, picked up the handgun and pulled the trigger, fatally wounding Boggs.

“In her statements to police, the defendant said she believed the gun was still unloaded as it had been earlier. However, she also admitted she did not do anything to verify her belief the gun was unloaded,” the statement of facts states.

Stephanie Gill Boggs, Boggs’ mother, said in an interview with the Journal-News that the charge and possible sentence is not enough for killing her son.

“We are trying to get justice for him because nobody will even acknowledge him. My son didn’t deserve this, they’re putting him on trial when he’s the victim,” Gill Boggs said.

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