Gun Owner Gets Prison Time for Child’s Death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A San Diego man will spend four years behind bars for child endangerment after a boy died while playing with his gun.

    During Wednesday's sentencing hearing, Todd Francis wiped away tears as his attorney pleaded with the judge for probation.

    Witnesses Take Stand in Accidental Shooting Death

    [DGO] Witnesses Take Stand in Accidental Shooting Death
    Several key witnesses took the stand Wednesday in the preliminary hearing of Todd Francis, a San Diego man charged with involuntary manslaughter in the accidental death of a 10-year-old boy fatally wounded while playing with a gun in Francis' garage. NBC 7's Brandi Powell reports. (Published Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013)

    Instead, the judge gave Francis the maximum sentence allowed under the terms of his plea agreement: Four years in prison.

    On June 4, 2013, 10-year-old Eric Klyaz died while playing with a gun in Francis’ garage in Scripps Ranch. The fourth grader died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Francis’ 9-year-old daughter was also there, but wasn’t hurt, according to officials.

    Francis initially pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm. He accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty last February.

    Eric's mother, who was also crying in the courtroom, wanted Francis to receive the maximum sentence.

    "As anyone can imagine, this has been the ultimate horrible thing for a parent to go through," said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Dix. "Not only has her son died, but shortly thereafter, her husband also passed away."

    Francis contends the gun was unloaded and hidden, though much of the evidence in the case disputes that.

    "He's not a bad guy," defense attorney Danna Cotman said. "I hope he can survive this and find productive ways to still get out there and educate the community."

    Francis is also facing a civil lawsuit.

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