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Little Liquarry Jefferson's mother, brother charged with his death

UPDATE: Gadson acquitted on the most serious charges.

Lakeisha Gadson, and her son, Jayquan McConnico, 16, were formally charged today with involuntary manslaughter - and lying to investigators about how Liquarry Jefferson, 8, died.

Although police still say the person who actually fired the gun that killed Liquarry was his 7-year-old cousin, prosecutors charge Gadson and McConnico are equally to blame, because they stored a 9-mm Norinco semi-automatic handgun with live ammunition in the unlocked top drawer of a small dresser in McConnico's bedroom. They alleged that Liquarry routinely played in the room - and that it was this gun that the boy and his cousin were playing with when it went off around 11 p.m. on June 24, 2007.

At a press conference today, Suffolk County DA Dan Conley and Police Commissioner Ed Davis recited a series of changing stories the family told police about how Liquarry died.

When [emergency workers] went to McConnico's room, they told investigators, they found Jefferson grievously wounded. McConnico, with Gadson's knowledge, allegedly retrieved the handgun and some ammunition, concealing them in some clothing and hiding them in the back hall. Gadson allegedly devised the intruder story and told McConnico and others in the residence to repeat it to police.

"The facts are both shocking and sad," Conley said. "Shocking because the actions that led to Liquarry's death were so reckless and the consequences so predictable, and sad because an eight-year-old boy lost his life because the two people who should have been most concerned with his care and protection were utterly derelict in their duties."

Complete statement from the DA's office:

BOSTON, March 31, 2008-Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today released the following statement on the indictments of LAKEISHA GADSON (D.O.B. 8/17/76) and JAYQUAN McCONNICO (D.O.B. 10/29/91) for the June 24, 2007, shooting death of Liquarry Jefferson:

"Today, I am announcing the results of a nine-month Grand Jury investigation into the shooting death of eight-year-old Liquarry Jefferson on June 24, 2007. As a result of this intensive investigation, led by Assistant District Attorney David Deakin and in close cooperation with homicide detectives from the Boston Police Department:

"Lakeisha Gadson (D.O.B. 8/17/76), mother of Liquarry Jefferson, has been indicted on the following six charges: Involuntary Manslaughter, Wantonly or Recklessly Permitting Substantial Bodily Injury to a Child, Child Endangerment, Improper Storage of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and Misleading a Police Officer.

"In addition, Jayquan McConnico (D.O.B. 10/29/91), brother of Liquarry Jefferson and 15 years old at the time of the shooting, has been indicted as a youthful offender for three offenses: Involuntary Manslaughter, Improper Storage of a Firearm, and Misleading a Police Officer.

"Lakeisha Gadson is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday, April 2, in Suffolk Superior Court. A warrant has been issued for Jayquan McConnico, who will be arraigned as a youthful offender in the Boston Juvenile Court on April 4.

"The facts I am about to describe are both shocking and sad: Shocking because the actions that led to Liquarry Jefferson's death were so reckless and the consequences so predictable; and sad because an 8-year-old boy lost his life because his mother and teenaged brother - people who should have been most concerned with his care and protection - were utterly derelict in their duty.

"Our investigation has established that sometime before February 20, 2007, Lakeisha Gadson obtained and/or permitted her then-fifteen-year-old son, Jayquan McConnico, to obtain an unregistered 9 millimeter Norinco semi-automatic pistol. McConnico stored the loaded gun in the top drawer of his dresser in his bedroom in the family home at 266 Seaver Street, Apartment 6.

"The dresser's top drawer was only about two and a half feet off the ground, within easy reach of a seven- or eight-year-old boy. The drawer was neither locked nor secured in any way. Likewise, the unregistered handgun did not have a trigger lock or any other protection against accidental or unauthorized discharge as mandated by Massachusetts law. Both defendants knew that young children had regular access to McConnico's bedroom, where the gun was kept, and it was there that Liquarry Jefferson and his seven-year-old cousin were playing when Liquarry was fatally shot.

"Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on June 24, 2007, Boston Police and emergency medical personnel responded to a 911 call from 266 Seaver Street. The caller, Jayquan McConnico, reported that his eight-year-old brother, Liquarry Jefferson, had been shot. In the course of that call, which went to Massachusetts State Police because it was made from a cellular phone, McConnico falsely reported that "someone" shot through the window of the home and hit his little brother.

"When first responders arrived, they found the boy in a back bedroom fighting for his life. He had been shot once in the abdomen. Liquarry Jefferson was rushed to Boston Medical Center, where he died on the operating table.

"In speaking with police who responded at the scene, Jayquan McConnico initially gave police a false name, and changed his story of someone shooting through the window of the apartment. He now told police another false story and said that a lone gunman, whom he described as an African-American male with a hooded sweatshirt pulled tight over his face, had entered the apartment, gone to the back room, and shot his younger brother.

"Lakeisha Gadson gave police a different story, and it, too, was false. She told officers that three African-American males wearing hooded sweatshirts had entered the home, gone straight to the back bedroom - as if targeting someone - and fired three rounds, hitting her eight-year-old son.

"Not long after - in the early morning hours of Monday, June 25 - McConnico changed his story, yet again, to align more closely with his mother's. He told Boston Police homicide detectives that three African-American males wearing hooded sweatshirts had entered the apartment, gone to the back, and fired two rounds, hitting his brother.

"Later that day, their false accounts crumbling under the weight of evidence collected by the Boston Police Department, both Gadson and McConnico gave further interviews to detectives. Both acknowledged that they had lied to police. They reported that they had been in their apartment at approximately 11:00 p.m. when the two boys were playing in McConnico's bedroom. Hearing a gunshot or gunshots, they went to the back bedroom, where they found the stricken Liquarry.

"With Gadson's full knowledge, McConnico picked up the gun and some ammunition, wrapped them in a pair of his boxer shorts, and hid them in the back hall. They both reported that in the aftermath of the shooting, Gadson fabricated an account of events and told McConnico and his siblings to repeat it to authorities.

"McConnico described for police how he had obtained the unregistered gun sometime before, with his mother's knowledge, and stored it in his dresser. He also told police that he had obtained additional ammunition for the gun and stored it with the gun. In a later conversation, Gadson said that McConnico was "protecting" her by telling the police that the gun was his, not hers. In the same conversation - and in a later conversation with the Department of Social Services - Gadson stated that she had obtained the gun for protection.

"The indictments allege that these defendants obtained an unregistered firearm and stored it, unsecured, in a low dresser drawer in a room constantly accessible to young children. We intend to prove that this wanton, reckless behavior led predictably to the tragic - and entirely preventable - death of eight-year-old Liquarry Jefferson."

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BOSTON (WBZ) ? Liquarry Jefferson's mother and brother were indicted Monday in the shooting death of the 8-year-old in Dorchester last summer.

Jefferson was shot in the abdomen in his bedroom of the second-floor apartment on Seaver Street June 24.

At the time, Boston Police said his 7-year-old cousin was responsible.

Jefferson's mother, Antonia Gadson, and his 15-year-old brother were formally charged Monday with involuntary manslaughter.

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I'm looking at it right now, and it says

Jefferson's mother, Lakeisha Gadson, 31, and his brother, Jayquan McConnico, 16, were formally indicted Monday on involuntary manslaughter and several other charges, including misleading police.
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When they realized the kid was 16, his name became fair game. I just changed my post as well.

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anyone know the elements of the crime?

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Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another human being without intent.

Wonder if it was lawful or unlawful possession.

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Unlawful....How many people in Roxbury "legally" posess a firearm?

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What exactly is it that you are trying to imply?

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Young people cannot obtain gun permits in Massachusetts without active assistance from their parents.

Chapter 140: Section 129B. Firearm identification cards; conditions and restrictions
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/140-129b.htm

So in reading the post you were referring to, I assume he meant that in this sad story, as in ALL THE MANY sad stories we've read lately involving guns and teenagers in Roxbury and Dorchester, there is basically zero chance that the guns were legal just on the face of it.

Right?

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FID cards are for the possession of non-high capacity long guns (rifles and shotguns), with the little-known exceptions of manually cycled firearms (pump action shotguns, lever action rifles) and rimfire rifles (.22) with tube-fed magazines (the Marlin 60 being the most well-known example).

Guns under those exceptions are not subject to the MGL definition of "high capacity".

Must be 21+ to be issued an LTC for possession of handguns.

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I imagine the statistic is on the public record.

I would be interested in knowing how many people in Roxbury and elsewhere in Boston unlawfully possess firearms. There certainly have bee a lot of news stories recently about the unlawful possession of firearms including th piece about BPD going door-to-door and asking parents if they can search unlawful firearms, in Bromley-Heath, right?

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Wonder if it was lawful or unlawful possession.

My understanding is that in Massachusetts, such an accessible handgun is unlawful by definition. In other words, the fact that the child was able to get this handgun (not locked) and fire it (not trigger-locked or otherwise secured) violates our laws.

Could someone more knowledgeable on gun laws please let me know if I am understanding this correctly?

Laws mandating individuals store their firearms locked
Chapter 140: Section 131L. Weapons stored or kept by owner; inoperable by any person other than owner or lawfully authorized user; punishment
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/140-131l.htm

Laws mandating firearms must include with safety devices
Chapter 140: Section 131K. Firearms or large capacity weapons without safety devices; liability
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/140-131k.htm

Of course, this is quite separate from the fact that the 16 year old in question almost certainly did not have a permit or purchase the gun from a licensed gun seller.

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"Lakeisha Gadson (D.O.B. 8/17/76), mother of Liquarry Jefferson, has been indicted on the following six charges:
-Involuntary Manslaughter,
-Wantonly or Recklessly Permitting Substantial Bodily Injury to a Child,
-Child Endangerment,
-Improper Storage of a Firearm,
-Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and
-Misleading a Police Officer.

"In addition, Jayquan McConnico (D.O.B. 10/29/91), brother of Liquarry Jefferson and 15 years old at the time of the shooting, has been indicted as a youthful offender for three offenses:
-Involuntary Manslaughter,
-Improper Storage of a Firearm, and
-Misleading a Police Officer.

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Basically, a handgun not under the direct control of its owner must be secured from unauthorized use - either by means of a trigger/gun lock or by storing it in a locked container.

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This is all just so sad.

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1. "Liquarry’s godmother and Gadson’s “best friend,” who didn’t want her name used
like people aren't going to figure it out from that detailed description

2. Why is best friend in quotation marks? Is she a faux best friend?

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She probably described herself to the reporter with those words, so the reporter put them in quotes.

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I still don't think she is a fit parent and I hope that more appropriate homes are found for her remaining children. She left a 3 year old, 7 year old, and 8 year old unsupervised to play in a place with a readily available and fully loaded gun. Basic Parenting 101 dictates that you make your home safe so that IF your kids somehow become unsupervised for long enough to sneak out of bed and mess around, they won't kill each other or themselves or light the house on fire. I won't get into the time of night it was that all this went down ... or the long history of gang-related activity in household.

Then again, Gadson herself became pregnant at age 14, and that fact alone speaks volumes about the amount of parental supervision and interest in her natal household and where she got the idea that kids don't need any! It seems that she may never have learned to parent because she herself may not have had competent parents.

(I grew up in trailer courts and saw a fair amount of the teen moms ignoring their kids and getting messed up with loser friends and loser druggy guys - and then their children became teen parents in turn. It is not necessarily an urban thing!)

Gadson also became a mother at a time when a 15 year old with a baby was considered to be an adult head of household and placed alone in an apartment with nothing much to do besides get mixed up in more trouble and/or get pregnant again. Now we know why such children with children are now considered to be children and required to live in supervised environments - with a legal guardian or in a group home/dorm setting.

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you have no right to say if anyone is a fit mother or not.God gave her the children and he is the only one that is allowed to judge her. Not u.U should be ashamed of urself.U r WRONG!!!!!.You should really do something with urself.
Yes i understand that the sitituation was bad but you don't have the authority to judge people.
That is JUST SAD.
ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!

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This irresponsible, incompetant woman should not be given bail at all. She should remain in jail for the rest of her life. She failed to do the one thing that should come natural to all mothers, protect her child. Animals have this instinct naturally. The fact that she lied to authorities at first shows that she did not put her dying childs interest first, she put herself first, because she knew she was going to get in trouble. She failed her child. She acted irresponsibly and should be punished for it. There are no excuses for this woman. Her up bringing should be no excuse for her behavior. As a 31 year old adult, she knows right from wrong, she should know how to act like a responsible adult and mother.

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- This irresponsible, incompetant woman should not be given bail at all.
- She should remain in jail for the rest of her life.
- She failed to do the one thing that should come natural to all mothers, protect her child. Animals have this instinct naturally.
- The fact that she lied to authorities at first shows that she did not put her dying childs interest first, she put herself first, because she knew she was going to get in trouble.
- She failed her child.
- She acted irresponsibly and should be punished for it.
- There are no excuses for this woman.
- Her up bringing should be no excuse for her behavior.
- As a 31 year old adult, she knows right from wrong, she should know how to act like a responsible adult and mother.

/RANT OFF

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... for that in-depth commentary. It makes so much more sense now.

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