The 13-year-old Wilton boy who accidentally shot and killed his friend last December was ordered Wednesday to serve two years probation and receive mental health counseling.
Saratoga County Family Court Judge Courtenay Hall said a psychiatric report indicated the boy is “a loving son” and a good student who is not a danger to the community.
“He has shown remorse and sadness” regarding what was called a “tragic accident,” according to the report. “This is a responsible, healthy child,” a probation report said.
Hall read the material at Wednesday’s “disposition hearing” — basically a sentencing — in the case. The Daily Gazette is not publishing the boy’s name.
The boy was facing counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 16.
The probation report said the shooting was “an accident between two young boys” and recommended two years probation with two conditions. The first condition is that the boy be banned from possessing firearms or taking any firearm-related courses during the period of probation; the second is that the boy receive mental health counseling “until he is successfully discharged.”
The boy will meet with a probation officer once a week after school, said Hugh G. Burke, the assistant county attorney who prosecuted the case.
“It was a fair outcome,” Burke said. “This child is not a danger to the community.”
The boy admitted in court last month that he pulled the trigger of a 9 mm handgun, shooting his friend Nicholas Naumkin in the head late on the afternoon of Dec. 22, 2010. Naumkin died later that day at Albany Medical Center. Both boys were age 12 at the time.
Naumkin was visiting the boy’s Birchwood Drive home when the two boys, who were home alone, started playing with a handgun owned by the boy’s father, police said. They found the gun in a bedroom dresser drawer buried under clothing. The ammunition for the gun was found in another drawer.
Both boys were seventh-grade students at Maple Avenue Middle School near Saratoga Springs.
The boy said at an Aug. 11 Family Court hearing that he did accidently shoot his friend and understood why a loaded handgun is a “dangerous instrument.”
The blond-haired boy, who is small for his age, sat quietly in court on Wednesday. He wore a blue, black and white plaid shirt and answered judge Hall’s questions clearly. His parents sat a row behind him, next to their attorney.
Hall asked the boy if he understood that he had earlier signed a document agreeing to waive the right to appeal in the case. The boy said that he did.
The boy’s father is facing a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly leaving a firearm where it could be found by a person under 17. That case is still pending.
A letter from the Yuri Naumkin, the father of the deceased boy, also was accepted as part of the case record despite objections from attorney Alan M. Blumenkopf, who was representing the Wilton boy.
Blumenkopf said he objected to, and disagrees with, the facts and conclusions expressed in this letter. The court did not release the letter, which judge Hall described as a victim’s statement.
The Naumkin family did release the letter later Wednesday.
“More than seven months have passed since we lost our child, our friend and companion, our hope and pillar,” Naumkin’s letter says. “They say time is healing: If that is true then, I guess, we need much more of it.”
A key point in the letter is that, in Naumkin’s opinion, their son did not play with the handgun as described in police reports. “Instead it rather was a ‘one man show’ performed in front of our horrified son who didn’t want to show that he was afraid and desperately tried to play it cool,” the letter says.
Naumkin expressed anger at the boy’s parents for having a handgun in their home where it could be found by young people.
“In my strong opinion — even though I agree [the Wilton boy] cannot go to jail for what he has done — he should be charged with what he has done and it should permanently stay on his criminal record in case of future re-occurrence of criminal action,” the letter says.
Naumkin added that the criminal record should “not be shown on his record if he applies for a job, student loan, or mortgage for a house, etc.”
“And maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea if that record will prohibit him from legally possessing (firearms) in the future,” Naumkin said. “I hope that is not too much to ask as a justice for our son.”
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