Family and friends of a teen shot and killed in December at a Hamilton home were protesting what they viewed as a lenient punishment outside the Government Services building today before the court appearance of the woman who pleaded guilty to killing him.
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 today 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.
Hamilton police say Brazzell was “playing with a firearm pointing it at the victim and discharged the firearm striking the victim in the head.”
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.
She said her son, whom she called “J.R.” was shot in the back of the head and “there is more to what happened.”
“She shot my son and killed him and she’s only looking at maybe probation or 36 months. He was 16 years old. He was still a child and deserves to have justice for what happened to him,” Gill Boggs said.
She also made similar statements during the court appearance today as emotions ran high.
Gill Boggs said she also does not believe the investigation was conducted properly.
“I just think more could have been done in how things were handled,” she said.
Gill Boggs said she has been shot at twice leaving her house and has tried to get people to talk about what happened on the night her son was killed.
“I really think that there’s more to this than what they are saying,” Gill Boggs said. “None of it makes sense to me.”
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said this case could have been indicted as a misdemeanor negligent homicide “and it would be treated like a hunting incident in which somebody shoots their friend by accident.”
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. “She is looking at the gun. She is handling the gun, and in the course of handling the gun, he is sitting across the room in a chair, and she pulls the trigger in the mishandling of this firearm, the bullet hits him in the head and he is dead.”
The prosecutor said under these circumstances there is no evidence of purposeful killed or that Brazzell knowingly assaulted him that would make the act a felony murder crime.