The father of a Springboro boy who died last summer of a self-inflicted gunshot fired accidently from his grandmother’s gun pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in connection with the incident.
George Lee Campbell Jr., 30, was indicted Nov. 2 by a Warren County grand jury for having weapons under disability, a third-degree felony.
Campbell told police he showed his mother how to load and use the Glock 9mm on June 26, the same day his 6-year-old son, Georgevoine Campbell, used it to accidently shoot himself. He said he was sleeping when the boy found the gun, apparently in a cabinet or on a book case, according to the Springboro Police Department report and prosecutors.
On Monday, Campbell admitted being in possession of the gun, which is a crime because of a previous conviction for robbery. The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 36 months in prison, but because of an agreement between the defense and prosecutors, Judge Donald Oda II indicated he would likely sentence Campbell to community control.
A sentencing date has not yet been set, but Oda said it will happen in about 10 weeks after a pre-sentence investigation is completed.
Investigators were told by the boy’s grandmother she left the gun unsecured when she went to help with another grandchild. She and Campbell told police she bought the gun that day for protection from people who had been calling with threats, according to the police report. The grandmother is not charged.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said it as difficult for police and his office to determine what happened the day, who purchased the gun and why.
“There’s some conflicting evidence as to who last had the firearm and placed it where. And there would have been issues calling either of them (to testify) because they may have tried to assert fifth amendment privileges,” Fornshell said.
He added while the case’s outcome is frustrating, and the death of a child is the tragedy.
“I am less frustrated about no charges as I am the fact that you have a 6-year-old kid dead,” Fornshell said. “Sometimes people think the prosecutor’s upset that he can’t charge anybody. Not true, I am upset that the kid is dead. Charges are not going to bring him back.”
The boy was not conscious or breathing when an ambulance crew arrived at the home on Royal Drive, near Springboro City Hall, according to a run sheet from the incident.
“My son grabbed my momma’s gun,” a caller, apparently George Campbell, said during two 911 calls placed after the shooting. “He shot himself, man. Oh, my God.”
Defense attorney Frank Schiavone IV said Campbell and his family are devastated by the loss of the boy, but “he had nothing to do with this child’s death.”
Campbell’s plea pertains only to showing his mother how to load the gun, which he could not do as a convicted felon, Schiavone said. He added the gun was purchased legally by Campbell’s mother for self defense
“This family has dealt with a lot. Just really sad ... a tragic situation,” he said.