NATIONAL NEWS

10-year-old boy confesses to fatally shooting a man in his sleep 2 years ago, Texas authorities say

Apr 19, 2024, 3:04 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 10-year-old boy has confessed to an unsolved killing in Texas, telling investigators that he shot a man he did not know while the victim slept, authorities said Friday.

The boy, who was just shy of his eighth birthday when the man was shot two years ago, has been evaluated at a psychiatric hospital but cannot be charged with the crime because of his age at the time, the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Texas law requires a child to be at least 10 years old to have criminal culpability. The boy is being held in juvenile detention for threatening a student on a bus in another incident earlier this month, authorities said.

Brandon O’Quinn Rasberry, 32, was shot in the head in 2022 while he slept at an RV park in Nixon, Texas, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of San Antonio, investigators said. He had just moved in a few days before.

The boy’s possible connection to the case was uncovered after sheriff’s deputies were contacted on April 12 of this year about a student who threatened to assault and kill another student on a school bus. They learned the boy had made previous statements that he had killed someone two years ago.

The boy was taken to a child advocacy center, where he described for interviewers details of Rasberry’s death “consistent with first-hand knowledge” of the crime, investigators said.

The boy said he had been visiting his grandfather, who lived a few lots away from Rasberry in the RV park. He described the 9 mm pistol and its “dirt and army green” color, and said he took it from the glove box of his grandfather’s truck.

The boy described entering Rasberry’s RV, shooting him in the head, and shooting again into the couch before leaving, then returning the gun to the truck, investigators said.

The boy told his interviewer he had seen Rasberry in the RV park earlier in the day, but never met him and had no reason to be mad at him. Rasberry’s body was found after he failed to show up for work for two days.

The boy said his grandfather later sold the pistol. Deputies located it at a pawn shop. Shell casings from the previous crime scene were matched to the gun, investigators said.

The boy was placed in 72-hour emergency detention “because of the severity of the crime and because of the continued concern for the child’s mental wellbeing,” the sheriff’s office said.

He was brought to a psychiatric hospital in San Antonio for evaluation and treatment and then was taken back to Gonzales County. He was placed in juvenile detention on a charge of making a terroristic threat for the school bus incident.

It was not immediately clear if the boy’s family has an attorney. The Associated Press left a telephone message seeking comment at the office of Gonzales County Attorney Paul Watkins.

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10-year-old boy confesses to fatally shooting a man in his sleep 2 years ago, Texas authorities say