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Grovetown teen sentenced to 24 months probation for shooting death

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Source: Elizabeth Rawlins (FOX54) Source: Elizabeth Rawlins (FOX54)
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

UPDATE: A teen went to trial Friday after a he shot and killed his classmate on Halloween last year. The judge ruled for 24 months of probation after the teen admitted to what he did, saying it was an accident.

FOX54 was inside the courtroom when the judge explained to the teen that he wants him to learn from this tragic experience. A request even the victim's family supports.

The mother of 13 year old Kristen Burnett told the court she believes the boy who shot and killed her daughter did not mean to do it.

"I would like to say that I know it was just an accident, I would like to see him go through some therapy and counseling," said Ashley Lunsford.  

The teen stood in front of a judge apologizing for what he says was a tragic mistake.

"He's devastated as you might expect at the loss of his friend. This is something that has had a drastic impact on him as well as the family of the victim," said Adam King, the teen's defense attorney.  

The teen was being charged with involuntary manslaughter and could have served up to five years in prison but the judge ruled on 24 months probation, requiring him to take gun safety classes and counseling.

"It will be incumbent upon him to make sure he does the right thing, to make sure that he stays on the straight and narrow," said King.  

A major stipulation included in that probation was for him to go and speak at local schools, telling his story, making sure other students are aware of the dangers of playing with guns.

"I think that children can learn from my client," said King.  

While these measures will not bring back the loss of Kristen Burnett, the judge hopes this incident is something everyone can learn from, including parents keeping weapons in a safe guarded place.

"I think that Judge Flanagan was correct in that parents could take heed and parents would be well served to keep firearms out of the reach of children in a safe place."

Advice this grieving community will not take lightly.

The teen was able to begin his probation following his court appearance on Friday by going home with his family. No word yet on when he'll begin speaking with other students.

ORGINAL STORY:A Grovetown teen will spend the next 24 months on probation following the Halloween night shooting death of a fellow classmate.

The teen stood before Judge Flanagan and the family of Kristen Burnett on Friday morning as the sentence was handed down.

The tragedy began on Halloween night 2012 in Grovetown. The suspect told emergency officials he found a gun while at Burnett's home and accidentally shot and killed the 13 year old Burnett.

Kristen Burnett's mother spoke to the judge and asked that the teen just learn from the incident. The teen apologized for the incident and said he wished he could take it all back.

As part of his probation he will be attending gun safety classes, counseling and at the judge's request, he will be speaking to other teens about his experience.

We'll have more of the details about what happened in the courtroom tonight on FOX54 News at 10pm and right here at wfxg.com coming up.

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