Mother in Wash school shooting makes plea deal

May 15, 2012 - 6:05 PM

SEATTLE (AP) — The mother of a 9-year-old boy who brought a gun to a Washington state school that discharged and wounded a classmate pleaded guilty on Tuesday to weapons charges under a plea deal with prosecutors, dismaying the victim's family.

Jamie Chaffin pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, with the state recommending a sentence of 14 months in jail, Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Morris said.

Authorities had said Chaffin and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, caused the shooting through the negligence of leaving the handgun where the boy could pick it up at their house. He put the .45-caliber handgun in his backpack, and it went off Feb. 22, critically wounding Amina Kocer-Bowman.

Kocer-Bowman's parents issued a statement saying they were disappointed by the deal.

"We want legitimate accountability for the heinous act that nearly ended her life. We want responsibility from those whose irresponsibly and negligence nearly cost us our daughter's life," her parents said in statement. "Finger-pointing, plea deals, and court-mandated apologies are like a slap in the face as we watch those accused receive a slap on the wrist."

In March, Kocer-Bowman's classmate was sentenced in March to 12 months of probation and counseling. The boy also wrote an apology letter to his classmate and apologized to her in court.

Kocer-Bowman underwent weeks of recovery at a Seattle hospital after the bullet pierced through her body.

Chaffin was originally charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree assault, which would have brought a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Morris declined to comment on the case because it is still pending.

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Information from: Kitsap Sun, http://www.kitsapsun.com/