The 16-year-old Effingham resident who pleaded guilty last month to the charges of Involuntary Manslaughter and Possession of a Stolen Firearm in the accidental fatal shooting of 16-year-old Kaylee Jacob has received an indeterminate sentence in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Because the defendant in the case is a minor, and neither charge was a Class X felony, this was the maximum sentence allowed by law. The sentencing also requires the juvenile to participate in education programs, undergo trauma based psychotherapy, and receive drug treatment during his time in the DJJ. He must also pay all court costs, and pay restitution of $10,630 to Kaylee Jacob’s family for funeral costs.
The case began on October 18th when the 16-year-old Jacob was shot by a handgun that had been stolen from a vehicle parked in the Lake Sara area. After an extensive investigation authorities determined that the shooting was accidental, and the result of the juvenile being unaware that a bullet was in the chamber of the gun.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing Jacob’s parents, Steven Jacob and Crystal Gonzalez, each read victim’s impact statements. Her parents spoke about the loss of a child, and the impact it has had on them. They also talked about the positive impact Kaylee was able to have on so many people in just 16 years.
Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler said during the sentencing hearing that he wished he could do more with the sentencing of the juvenile, but that because of the teenager’s age and the charges in the case he was limited by the law. In asking for the sentencing that was handed out, Kibler said that even though the shooting was an accident, it was still the result a numerous bad decisions. He also called the act of pointing a gun at another human being “horrifically negligent.”
Because the defendant was charged as a juvenile, the sentencing will not extend past his 21st birthday. It is up to the Department of Juvenile Justice to determine when his release is appropriate.