updated 2/23/2007 4:59:52 PM ET 2007-02-23T21:59:52

The teenage son of a state senator declined to testify Friday at an inquest into the death of a friend and neighbor who was shot with the lawmaker's gun.

Bobby Regola, 16, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the investigation of 14-year-old Louis Farrell's shooting.

The victim's family maintains the boy was not alone and did not shoot himself. Their attorney, Jon Perry, said he believes Sen. Robert Regola's son knows more than he has told investigators.

Authorities called the inquest because they have not determined whether the boy shot himself intentionally or accidentally, or was shot by someone else.

Louis died in July from a gunshot to the head fired from a gun owned by the elder Regola, who was in Harrisburg at the time. The boy's body was found in woods behind the two families' homes next to the senator's 9 mm handgun, police have said.

Louis had a key to the Regolas' home because he watched their dogs when they were away, authorities have said.

Also Friday, Dr. Cyril Wecht, who performed the autopsy, testified that Louis was shot just above his right ear with the gun pressed tightly to his head. But the evidence does not constitute proof that the boy killed himself, Wecht said.

J. Douglas Farrell, the victim's father, sobbed uncontrollably and paced in front of the witness chair Friday as he described the horror of finding his son's body in the woods.

"I dropped, I dropped to my knees. Out of the corner of my eye I grabbed the gun and started screaming 'Louis, Louis, Louis,'" Farrell said.

The county coroner will use the inquest to decide whether to recommend criminal charges, but the final decision will be up to prosecutors.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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