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August 24, 2013

14-year-old charged with manslaughter

Fort Edward shooting killed former Chazy teen Gary Cota

FORT EDWARD — A 14-year-old has been charged in the death of former Chazy resident Gary E. Cota, who was 13 when he was shot in the head in his bedroom.

The older teen faces charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangerment, said Ford Edward Village Police Chief Justin Derway.

The manslaughter and assault charges are felonies, and the endangerment charge is a misdemeanor.

The case has been referred to the Washington County Probation Department, and the boy, whose name was not released, will be tried as a juvenile, Derway said.

He was arrested at about 2 p.m. Thursday and released to a parent to return to the Probation Department on Monday, he said.

BOYS HANDLING GUN

”At this point, we don’t have any evidence indicating it was an intentional act,” Derway said.

”The initial statement that the live child made the night of the incident indicated the boys had been handling the gun prior to the shooting. We never determined where the rounds in the gun came from.”

The 12-gauge shotgun was not secured in the Cotas’ house, the chief added.

According to New York State Penal Law, first-degree manslaughter reflects an intention to injure someone that results in death, while a person is guilty of second-degree manslaughter if, in one instance, “he recklessly causes the death of another person.”

‘ABOUT TIME’

“It’s about time,” Cota’s great-grandfather, Rodney Parrott of Plattsburgh, said about the charges.

He said he thinks the boy should be tried as an adult.

“I was hoping that this thing was just accidental ... but it doesn’t appear that way,” said Gary’s paternal grandfather, Gary Edward Cota, for whom he was named.

Gary was shot upstairs in his family’s Fort Edward home on June 5, 2012, while his parents, Nicole and Louis Cota, and his siblings were in the house.

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