Parents won't face charges in local toddler's death

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Cervone: No punishment could outweigh loss of child

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

State Attorney Bill Cervone has decided that the parents of  a two-year-old killed when his brother picked up a loaded gun and it discharged will not be charged with felony culpabale negligence.

Brantley Tucker Owens, 2, and his 11-year-old brother, were playing hide-and-seek at home on Sept. 28 when they came across their father's loaded shotgun, and it discharged, a sheriff's spokesman said.

The children's mother, Fawn Owens, had just left the home, and the father, Michael Owens Jr., was attending nursing classes.

Cervone, in a letter dated Oct. 26 to Sheriff Johnny Smith, said he was dismissing the charge against Michael and Fawn Owens  because it "lacks prosecutive merit." But, Cervone said in the letter, that did not adequately explain why he was dismissing the charge.

"Your department conducted a thorough and professional investigation in a very difficult situation and this dismissal has nothing to do with any shortcomings on the part of law enforcement," he said in the letter to Smith.

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