A 17-year-old male was charged Friday in juvenile court with involuntary manslaughter in the July fatal shooting of another teen.
Anthony L. Bowersox, 17, of Mount Pleasant Mills, was shot in the head on July 28 inside a vehicle parked on Palmer Lane in West Perry Township, Snyder County, and died three days later at Hershey Medical Center.
Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch said Friday the 17-year-old shooter, who will not be identified because he's a minor, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor.
State police at Selinsgrove investigated the shooting and determined the alleged offender caused Bowersox's death by handling a firearm in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, Piecuch said.
A search warrant obtained by The Daily Item said Bowersox was shot while seated in the driver seat of a Ford F-150 truck while his older sister, Julana Strauser, sat in the front passenger seat.
Bowersox had driven to Palmer Lane to meet the unidentified teen, who arrived in a utility vehicle.
After they smoked marijuana, the unidentified teen retrieved a revolver from his vehicle and got back into the truck, seated behind Bowersox, the warrant said.
The teen told police he checked the weapon and didn't see any bullets before pointing the gun to check if the safety was engaged. At that point, he pulled the trigger and a bullet struck Bowersox behind the right ear, the warrant said.
No charges related to the incident are expected to be filed against any other individual, Piecuch said.
Explaining the charges filed against the teen, he said that in Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of criminal homicide if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another human being. Criminal homicide can be classified as murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. A person is guilty of involuntary manslaughter when the death is a direct result of doing an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner or doing a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner.
"The investigation discovered no evidence to support any homicide charge other than involuntary manslaughter," Piecuch said.
Bowersox's aunt, Wendy Apple, of Mount Pleasant Mills, said the charges are a "slap on the wrist" and doubts her nephew's shooter will be adequately punished.
Juvenile court, unlike adult court, has no sentencing guidelines and the final disposition is up to the judge, said Piecuch who, due to the confidentiality requirements of the state's juvenile system will not release any more information about the case.