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Parents, uncle of dead child get probation, North Carolina district attorney’s office says

By Matthew Memrick,

2023-03-14

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GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Gaston County assistant district attorney said that two parents and an uncle charged in the shooting death of a 4-year-old reached sentencing agreements on Monday.

Assistant district attorney Zach Holeve confirmed that Savannah Leigh Brehm and Hector Manuel Mendoza-Saucedo got 36-month probation sentences, while gun owner Keith Deshawn Sturghill received 24 months of probation.

‘Heartbreaking’: Parents, relative arrested after 4-year-old boy shot, killed in Gastonia

Brehm, 22, Mendoza-Saucedo, 22, and Sturghill, 21, faced several charges, including felony involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse, and the misdemeanor charge of storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.

Michael Mendoza, the child of Brehm and Mendoza-Saucedo, died on Dec. 13, 2022. The family lived at Cindy Lane in Gastonia.

Brothers played with gun from coffee table, safety off before fatal shooting, North Carolina police say

During a court hearing, prosecutors said the adults knew a loaded gun was on the home’s coffee table with the safety off. The gun belonged to Strughill.

Mendoza and Strughill left for work when the 5-year-old child and 4-year-old child found the weapon. A 5-year-old sibling shot the 4-year-old, according to investigators.

Sturghill was his uncle, authorities said. All three live at the home on Cindy Lane, investigators said.

No further information was released.

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