A Mercer County man accidentally shot a young girl dressed in a Halloween costume with a shotgun. The child was dressed in a black body costume with white accessories, and the man insisted that she looked like a skunk. The man was charged with simple assault, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
The girl was a relative of the man and was struck in several areas of her upper body and received critical injuries as she played hide-and-seek outside the residence. She received medical treatment for her wounds.
In a criminal case in an apparently accidental shooting, the accused shooter claims he did not intend to shoot the girl. He did not realize he was aiming at a person but wanted to shoot an animal instead. In the case of violent crimes such as the present offense, the help of a criminal defense attorney becomes more necessary than ever. In these types of cases, a lawyer can help those accused of crimes by emphasizing the familial relationship between the defendant and victim along with his accidental and unintentional injury of the minor.
Extenuating circumstances that can lessen the penalties for a crime are called mitigating factors. One such factor in this case could be the defendant's lack of intent to hurt the child. A criminal defense lawyer understands how to establish these mitigating factors to the prosecution in order to reduce potential penalties for clients. In some accident-based cases , a lawyer may even be able to have the charges dismissed.
Source: USA Today, "Charges filed in Pa. Halloween costume shooting," Oct. 25, 2012