Stepfather pleads no contest in Fresno child shooting death

FRESNO, Calif.

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Jarred Dubois was not scheduled to enter a plea until this Wednesday. His attorney said he is anxious to move forward with the case so he pleaded Monday to help his family heal.

It has been almost a month since Fresno Police say Emily Lavender's two year old half-brother got a semi-automatic handgun from under a bed and shot his sister. Emily's stepfather, Jarred Dubois was charged after an investigation revealed the gun was not locked up. Dubois' attorney says his client has been dealing with both the emotion of the tragedy and the stress of criminal charges.

Dubois' Attorney, Mark Coleman said, "He made the decision to plead after reviewing all of the police reports and the evidence and he wanted to get it done to get this behind him and on the road to recovery with his family."

Mark Coleman says the family has spent the past weeks receiving counseling and other support to deal with the loss and the circumstances surrounding it. Coleman says he feels the tragedy has been punishment enough.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says even though criminal charges were warranted, the incident will bear a personal burden for many years. "Here is an individual who has obviously been impacted greatly, he's got a six year old stepdaughter who is no longer with us, a two year old son that's going to be impacted by what he did for the rest of his life and no doubt you have a father that is in tremendous pain over all of this and now facing criminal charges."

Dubois could get up to three years in prison for this charge. Coleman feels probation is appropriate based on the tragedy and the fact Dubois has no other criminal history.

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