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11-year-old pleads guilty to manslaughter

Columbia County judge sentences boy to mental health treatment, probation

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LAKE CITY, Fla. – An 11-year-old pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge Thursday in the December death of his 14-year-old friend, WCJB-TV reported.

According to Columbia County investigators, Jadon Vaughn was shot and killed by Carter Palm while visiting his younger friend the day after Christmas. Deputies said Carter and Jadon were play wrestling to see if the family dog would respond to Carter being attacked. After that, Carter got a pistol from his parents' room, took out the magazine, pointed it at Jadon and pulled the trigger.

In a courtroom full of emotion Thursday, the 11-year-old raised his hand before a judge and pleaded guilty. News4Jax has chosen not to show his face.

The judge ordered Carter Palm to enroll in a mental health facility for treatment, but he will remain at the Gainesville Juvenile Detention Facility until there's room for him at an appropriate facility. He'll also have to follow a curfew and remain on probation until he's at least 18.

Jadon Vaughn's grandmother, Bobbie Prescott, called the plea agreement a slap on the wrist.

"It's showing that, OK you're 11 years old and it's OK to go out there and kill somebody," Prescott told WCJB. "That's what I think is being served here. It's just giving kids the opportunity to go out there and do what they want to."

Jadon's mother told WCJB that justice was not served.

"But I will not stop getting justice for my son until the day that I'm dead. I will not stop,” said the woman, who did not want to use her name or show her face.

The father of the 11-year-old is charged with failure to safely store a firearm, according to the state attorney's office. That case is still pending.


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