Mother of Westminster child who was shot dead by her brother pleads guilty to child abuse.
The mother of a 3-year-old child, who was shot dead by her brother, has pleaded guilty to felony child abuse in Jefferson County District Court.
Michaela Dawn Harman, 25, pleaded guilty Tuesday to child abuse — negligently caused serious bodily injury — for the shooting death of her daughter, Ruby Jackson, according to the district attorney’s office.
Ruby was shot by her brother, age 7, when both children were in Harman’s care, a news release said. The shooting happened on April 21, 2020, at the family’s Westminster home, 10745 Moore Circle. Ruby, who was shot in the chest, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“Ruby and her brother were playing ‘swords’ when the seven-year-old boy picked up a shotgun from the couch that was out in the open and unsecured,” the release said. “The little boy ‘pushed the button’ and the shotgun discharged, striking and killing Ruby.”
The boy told investigators that he didn’t know the shotgun was loaded, according to the release. He had “played” with it the day before and it was not loaded at the time.
Harman told investigators that on the evening of April 20, 2020, she loaded the gun and “brought it downstairs to the main family room where the children had access,” the release said.
As part of the plea agreement, Senior Deputy District Attorney Amelia Sapp noted that “caregivers of the sibling that pulled the trigger were very hopeful for a resolution short of trial due to the trauma this incident has inflicted on him, and the fear that testifying may have a greater impact on him.”
Harman, according to prosecutors, has taken responsibility for the “her negligence” which led to Ruby’s death. The release described the shooting as accidental. She is scheduled to be sentence on July 1 to probation, along with mental health and substance abuse treatment. Harman, a single-parent, was the owner of the gun.
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