PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An admitted Philadelphia drug dealer will serve nine to 18 years in prison because his young son fatally shot himself with a gun that had been hidden in a sofa.
Twenty-six-year-old Javier Merle apologized to his family and in-laws at his sentencing Thursday.
Prosecutors say Merle had stashed heroin and a loaded 9mm pistol in the couch at his Kensington home. His 4-year-old son, Javier Jr., found the gun in July 2011 after his father went outside during a dispute with neighbors.
Merle pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drug charges in August.
Merle’s attorney says the boy’s death has torn the family apart. But the judge reprimanded relatives for tolerating Merle’s drug-dealing.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)