By Aisha I. Jefferson
Kevin Jones, the McDonough teen charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Tuesday shooting death of his 14-year-old sister will remain in state custody until a June 23 closed hearing.
Union Grove High School student Brittany Jones, who was shot behind her ear, died Wednesday at Grady Memorial Hospital, according to police. Jones, 15, told police the shooting was accidental.
"Right now, I feel he's best suited in the custody of the state," said Henry County Police Detective Allen Ferguson, adding "As it stands, I think (the charge will) stay the same as it is."
Juvenile Court Judge A.J. "Buddy" Welch made the decision during a Friday morning commitment hearing that was moved from the Henry County Juvenile Court to the Henry County Superior Court. The hearing was closed to the public.
The hearing was delayed an hour because the teens' mother, Antoinette Jones, arrived an hour late for the 10 a.m. court proceedings. The mother's presence was necessary in order for the hearing to take place because her son is a minor. About 14 friends and family members accompanied her to the hearing.
Ferguson said the judge seemed to be a "little upset" that Jones arrived late.
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the origin of the .38-caliber revolver used in the shooting. Ferguson said Jones claimed she doesn't know where the gun came from.
"That is our goal, to find out where that gun came from," said Ferguson, who couldn't comment on whether Jones could face charges.
Henry County Police Sgt. Palmerin Thomas said the teen was initially released to his mother Tuesday after being questioned. Henry County Police issued a warrant Thursday, however, and he turned himself in to the Henry County Sheriff's Office around 4 a.m. Friday, more than eight hours later than Henry County Police Detective Rene Swanson said his mother told detectives he would arrive.
Ferguson said Kevin told police he broke into his mother's bedroom, which was padlocked, and got the weapon from there. Ferguson said the teen told police he removed the screws from the locking mechanism, which allowed him to get into the room.
In addition, Ferguson said Kevin told them he specifically went into the room to get the gun. Thomas said Kevin told authorities he thought the gun was unloaded.
Kevin called 911 around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday and reported the incident, according to police. Swanson said Wednesday that Brittany's body was found on the floor in her bedroom. She was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where she was later removed from life support and her organs were donated.
Police said the siblings were alone at their home in the St. Andrews subdivision during the time of the shooting. Thomas said a couple of neighbors have said the siblings had a history of arguing.
Although neighbors said they didn't hear the shooting, "there have been rumors that the boy was carrying a weapon around the neighborhood," Ferguson said.
Brittany's death marks the county's third homicide of the year, according to authorities.