Stepfather faces felony charges in Emily Lavender shooting death

FRESNO, Calif.

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Mark Coleman said, "I don't think anyone who's seen what happened to this family would believe this hasn't been punishment."

The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says the DA had no choice but to file the charges. "The statute specifically says that someone who is grossly negligent should be prosecuted."

But the law also contains unusual protections for parents of children who are accidentally shot with improperly stored firearms. Capozzi says it assumes the parent's remorse for the shooting is part of the punishment. "The legislature in this particular statute is looking for prosecution but it's also looking to see the emotional status of the person affected by it, that is the parent or guardian."

While prison is a possibility, Coleman says probation is perhaps likely, if his client is convicted. "This is a man who in all other areas of his life completely responsible, he's a dedicated father, a good member of the community, no criminal history."

In a written statement Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "It is our hope that a tragic loss like this will never again be repeated and that gun owners will remember the importance of keeping their firearms safe and secure... and out of reach of children."

Attorney Mark Coleman says Jarred Dubois now understands that. Police confiscated 53 guns from his home. "What greater message can you send to the community that if you don't store your firearm safely your daughter could be killed."

Coleman says most of the guns in the Dubois home were .22 caliber rifles, kept for use by a youth scouting organization. Some weapons were in a locked safe, but police found another loaded handgun in a closet, along with several unlocked rifles in the house. Five children aged from 5 to 15 lived in the home.

Dubois is expected to turn himself in to Fresno Police Thursday.


Charges filed in Emily Lavender shooting death
By Corin Hoggard

Charges have been filed in the death of six-year-old Emily Lavender, who as accidentally shot by her two-year-old brother.

Emily Lavender's stepfather, Jarred Dubois, is facing charges for leaving loaded weapons in the house where five kids lived.

Wednesday morning, the District Attorney's Office filed charges of first degree criminal storage of a firearm.

Dubois' attorney said he is arranging to have his client surrender to police on Thursday, but he's hoping to keep Dubois out of prison.

The 33-year-old told police he was watching T.V. when he heard the gunshot that killed Emily. He ran to the bedroom and found out his 2-year-old son had grabbed a gun and shot the girl in the chest.

Action News obtained a search warrant showing the boy used a 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun. The gun was one of two that police say were unlocked and loaded inside the Northeast Fresno home.

The charging document says Dubois should have known that a child was likely to gain access to the firearm without permission.

Dubois will be arraigned on the charges later this week. If he's convicted, he could be sentenced to anything from probation up to three-years in prison.

Dubois attorney also said the charges probably put an end to Dubois' hopes of pursuing a career in law enforcement.

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