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.READ MORE: Student, Brother In Custody After Shooting Near Lincoln High School Leaves Man Dead, 16-Year-Old Injured, Police Say
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.READ MORE: Philadelphia School District Warns Of Shift To Virtual Learning If SEPTA Strike Occurs
Merle’s attorney says the boy’s death has torn the family apart. But the judge reprimanded relatives for tolerating Merle’s drug-dealing.
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