14-year-old accused of fatally shooting another teen pleads not guilty to murder charge
A 14-year-old accused of fatally shooting another teen in Bristol pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder on Tuesday in Addison County Superior Court.
The teen, a Burlington resident, was charged as an adult — an unusual decision made by Addison County state’s attorney Eva Vekos — and also faces charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault. He could face life in prison if convicted.
The 14-year-old is accused of fatally shooting Madden Gouveia, 14, of Shelburne on Monday night. (Due to his age, Vermont Public is not naming the alleged shooter at this time.)
Gouveia, the accused shooter, and two other youths (one of whom was 18) were sitting in a car outside a house in Bristol when the shooting took place, according to a police affidavit filed Tuesday.
The other teenagers in the car told police that Gouveia had a pistol and they were passing the gun around. One of the witnesses told police that he removed the gun’s magazine and racked the gun to clear the chamber, then put a bullet in the magazine and put the magazine back in the gun.
The witness told police that the alleged shooter then grabbed the gun and was waving it around when it went off. Gouveia told them he’d been shot.
“I didn’t mean to shoot you,” the accused shooter allegedly said, according to one of the witnesses.
The 14-year-old is currently being held without bail. On Tuesday during his arraignment, during which he appeared wearing a red prison jumpsuit with his feet shackled, his attorney, Jonathan Heppell, argued that he should be released to the custody of his family.
“His father does not work,” Heppell said during the hearing. “Because he’d be having eyes on supervision, there would be no risk of flight and especially given his age it would be appropriate to have him home with the family.”
But Vekos, the state’s attorney, told the judge even if his family are “well-meaning folks” they weren’t able to keep an eye on him Monday.
“They were not able to stop the fact that he was over a long way from home, yesterday in a car in Bristol,” Vekos said during Tuesday’s hearing. “Even though he’s a juvenile, he’s charged with a felony with the possibility of life in prison, so that’s why the state has moved to hold him without bail.”
A hearing to determine if he will be released to the custody of his family or continue to be detained is scheduled for Wednesday.
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