PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A Portsmouth mother will not spend time behind bars, after a judge accepted a plea agreement in a case where one of her children accidentally shot another.
This incident happened back in February 2019 on Lexington Drive in Portsmouth.
Raven Simone Hill was charged with felony child neglect, obstruction of justice and allowing a child to access a firearm.
Police say her 3-year-old child accidentally shot her 5-year-old. The 5-year-old survived.
Police say Hill kept the gun in an unlocked drawer. She allegedly threw it away after the shooting, saying she was scared.
In court Thursday, Hill pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement. As part of that agreement, the court will wait one year to make a ruling. In that time, Hill must attend parenting and gun safety classes. If she follows all instructions, she will not face jail time.
“It gives her an opportunity to keep a felony off her record,” said her attorney, Eric Korslund. “Of course, she has no criminal record right now. She would be found guilty of a misdemeanor, reckless handling of a firearm, which I do think is appropriate, but given a suspended jail sentence.”
As part of the agreement, the prosecution set aside the obstruction of justice charge. If she takes the classes and stays out of trouble, the prosecution will also set aside the charge of felony child neglect. She will plead guilty to reckless use of a firearm and will get 12 months, but all of that is suspended.
“She’s been through a lot,” Korslund said. “She had the gun for her own personal safety, which she’s allowed to have, nobody questioned that, and she had one of her children shoot another one of her children which I can’t imagine going through as a parent, the guilt associated with that. But then to be facing possible prison time is a complete nightmare and I think today is the first step for her to put this completely behind her.”
The judge said this should be a lesson to other parents to lock up any firearms in their home.
“I’m also hopeful that other folks in the community, other parents in the community will be mindful of how quickly things can change when you have a firearm around a child. You have to be very careful about it,” said Hon. Kenneth R. Melvin, Portsmouth Circuit Court Judge.
Korslund says, after an investigation by Child Protective Services, Hill has full custody of her children.