COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - The 18-year old accused of killing his 16-year old girlfriend with a shotgun over the weekend had his first court appearance. The suspect is still claiming the shooting was an accident, but investigators are saying otherwise.
Benjamin Brantley walked in to court for the first time since police say he shot his 16-year old girlfriend, Kayla Castro, over the weekend. He originally told police the sawed off shotgun he was carrying fell to the ground and discharged, but later admitted he was holding the gun when it fired, striking Kayla in the chest.
However in court detectives testified there was no way the gun went off by mistake. Detectives also said Brantley had priors, including drug and traffic violations.
Police reported Brantley ran from the scene immediately after shooting Kayla and later turned himself in to police. Along with a firearm charge, and possession of a sawed off shotgun, Brantley is charged with felony murder.
Some have questioned that charge considering witnesses say it was an accident. According to the Official Code of Georgia, there are four degrees of murder charges. Involuntary manslaughter takes place when death is caused as a result of an accident, such as a car wreck or accidental shooting.
Voluntary manslaughter is classified as a crime of passion. Malice murder is committed when the suspect has the intent to kill. And felony murder, which Brantley is charged with, takes place when another felony is committed at the same time of the crime, such as an armed robbery or possession of a sawed off shotgun.
The judge issued no bond for the felony murder charge and Brantley was escorted out of the courtroom. His mother ran out of the courtroom screaming "they won't let my baby go."
Brantley will be held in the Muscogee County Jail on the charges of murder, possession of a sawed off shotgun and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. His case is bound over to Superior Court.