Missouri teen gets 25 years for sister's shooting death

AP News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2017 1:45 PM
Missouri teen gets 25 years for sister's shooting death

JASPER, Mo. (AP) — A southwestern Missouri teenager has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally shooting his 12-year-old sister when he was 13.

Tristan Potts, now 15, was sentenced Monday in Joplin for second-degree murder, armed criminal action and attempted first-degree arson, The Joplin Globe (http://bit.ly/2ncOK36 ) reports. Tristan, who was certified to stand trial as an adult, pleaded guilty to the charges in December.

His sister, Teresa Potts, was suffering from gunshot wounds to her temple and right shoulder when officers responded in October 2015 to their adoptive parents' home near Jasper. Authorities say the siblings were adopted out of foster care.

Chris Carriger, a detective with the Jasper County Sheriff's Department, testified at a hearing that Tristan fled into some woods after the shooting and turned up later near a shop building behind the house, close to where investigators eventually recovered two handguns. Carriger said the teen tested positive for gunshot residue on his hands.

The teen was believed to have been preparing to set the family's home on fire and run off to Georgia. The detective said he found the home in "messy disarray," with black gunpowder strewn throughout the rooms and about 500 rounds of .22-caliber bullets in two skillets in the kitchen.

Carriger also testified that the investigation turned up three lists that bore the fingerprints of Tristan Potts, including one titled "Supplies for Georgia." Investigators later learned that the boy had been in contact on Facebook with a female in Georgia. Items on the to-do-lists, including a gun and food, were found near the home's front door.

As part of the sentence, a judge assigned Potts to a program in which a juvenile and adult sentence is simultaneously imposed, with the adult sentence suspended while the inmate undergoes treatment and vocational training. When he turns 21, the court determines whether he should remain in custody.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com