Morgan Springer pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter, avoid - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Morgan Springer pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter, avoids prison

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A Columbus teen dodged jail time after his attorney says he accidentally shot his best friend.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan Springer appeared in court Monday morning.

With the support of his family and the victim's family, Springer pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, facing 10 years in prison.

Springer was accused of killing 18 year-old Conner Weeks last October.

"The victim, when they got to the house, went into the bathroom and the defendant and two other friends began playing with guns out on the back porch of the residence in question, they were playing with an AK-47," prosecutor David Helmick said.

The prosecution testified that while Springer was playing with the AK-47, a person that lived at the home gave him a shot gun, but Springer didn't know the gun was loaded. Springer then pointed the gun at the bathroom window and pulled the trigger, killing his best friend.

"We did recommend incarceration. We felt that, that would be part of a just outcome in this case for him pulling the trigger because he did intentionally pull the trigger, there was intent there it's just that he did not intend to kill his friend, the victim," Helmick said.

However, Judge Allen disagreed saying neither family would be served by Springer going to jail.  Springer was sentenced to 10 years probation with 250 hours of community service.

"He's under first-offenders status. If he completes the probation, completes all the terms of it, then he won't have a conviction on his record at the end of the ten year period," defense attorney Stacey Jackson said.

Jackson said Springer had plans of joining the military but now that he's on probation, those plans will have to be put on hold.

"Obviously being on probation, until this time period is over, he cannot join [the military]. So, I believe his other option is to simply go to college, start working and then we'll see in the future whether or not the military becomes a second option as well," said Jackson.

After Judge Allen handed down the sentence he turned to the victim's father and said, "Sorry for your loss sir. Everybody loses."

News Leader 9 spoke with Springer's father after court. He declined to go on camera but he said now is a time of healing for both families. He and the victim's father hugged each other and cried saying it's finally over.

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