KEARNS — Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against a 15-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting his stepbrother with a shotgun.
The boy is charged in 3rd District Juvenile Court with manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a third-degree felony. During a hearing in juvenile court Thursday, he entered a denial to both charges.
Police were called to 5007 W. 5400 South, on a report of a possible accidental shooting on March 18. Jerrad Jacobsen, 16, was found dead in a bedroom with what investigators initially believed was a self-inflicted shotgun blast. Unified police observed a large wound on the top of Jerrad's head that appeared to be an exit wound, according to charging documents.
When detectives interviewed the 15-year-old stepbrother who was in the room with Jerrad at the time of the shooting, he told them "that he had turned away from (Jerrad) and could not see what (Jerrad) was doing. (He) stated that he heard the gun go off and then saw (Jerrad) on the floor," the charges state.
But when examined by the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office, it was determined that "the wound on the top left side of (Jerrad's) head, previously theorized to be an exit wound, appeared to be an entrance wound and that (he) may have been shot at a downward angle," charging documents say.
On March 20, police interviewed the 15-year-old again, who this time said he and Jerrad were hanging out in Jerrad's bedroom before school.
"(He) grabbed the gun, pointed it at (Jerrad) and pulled the trigger. (He) stated that he thought the shotgun was unloaded, but the gun went off and (Jerrad) fell over," the charges state.
The case was filed in Tooele County because the teen's closest legal guardian lives there, according to police. The Deseret News has opted to not name the 15-year-old at this time.6 comments on this story
Jerrad's mother, Theresa Hinkle, expressed her anger Thursday that the teen wasn't charged with murder.
"I go to bed crying every night I just miss my baby," she told the Deseret News.
"Like a snake he shot my son in the back of the head. That's not an accident," Hinkle said.
In regards to the boy telling police he believed the gun was unloaded at the time, Hinkle said, "Of course he's going to say that. If I murdered somebody and was trying to clean it up and wanting to get away with it I'm going to say the same thing."
Contributing: Dan Rascon