An 8-year-old boy who police say deliberately shot and killed his 87-year-old grandmother will be allowed to live with his parents but must go to counseling, a Louisiana judge ruled on Monday.
The boy, whose name is not released because he is a juvenile, shot his paternal grandmother, Marie Smothers, in the back of the head on Thursday, authorities said.
The 8-year-old lived at Smothers' Slaughter, La., home during the week while his parents were in school, according to East Feliciana Parish District Attorney Samuel D’Aquilla.
Although police are investigating the shooting as a homicide, the boy will not be charged because under Louisiana state law, children under the age of 10 are considered “immune from criminal responsibility,” D'Aquilla said.
Judge William Carmichael ruled that the child would be placed in his parents’ custody because it is a “safe environment,” D’Aquilla said. “I guess they may be able to supervise him better than a 90-year-old,” he added.
D’Aquilla said investigators have found that someone called 911 from Smothers' home a week before the shooting occurred and “said something to the extent that 'someone was shot.'”
He said that voice analysis of that phone call would factor into the ongoing investigation of the murder.
According to a statement by the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, investigators believe the young boy intentionally shot Smothers, even though the child claimed it was an accident.
The sheriff’s office determined that he had been “playing a video game, 'Grand Theft Auto IV,' a realistic game that … awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred."
M. Alex Johnson contributed to this report.