William DeHayes had a gun that he liked to play with and show off.
One day last July William DeHayes was showing his gun collection to his friends Carson Hoover and his pregnant wife, Katherine, and decided to show them a trick he’d learned; he spun a .22-caliber revolver around his forefinger like an Old West gunslinger and the gun went off, str
Rehlin Lee Hoover, died about 30 minutes after being removed from his mother’s womb.
Needless to say the family is devastated, but the hits just kept coming. In December 2014, the State Attorney’s Office in Hernando County decided not to pursue charges against William DeHayes, as the shooting was deemed accidental.
“I don’t understand. People go to jail for DUI. This man killed my daughter and grandson. I feel that my daughter deserves justice. She did nothing to deserve being killed and neither did my grandson.” — Donna Bryan, Katherine Hoover’s mother and Rehlin’s grandmother
In reaction to the state attorney’s office decision, Bryan sent letters to Florida Governor Rick Scott, state Attorney General Pam Bondi as well as Brad King, the state attorney in Hernando. And when King responded, well, he said that while he feels the Hoover family’s pain, an accidental discharge of a firearm that results in a death cannot be prosecuted criminally in Florida — even if the death is a result of gross negligence.
“Just as it is my duty to prosecute those who violate the law, it is equally my duty to refrain from prosecuting those whose conduct, no matter how outrageous, does not constitute a crime. This is such a case.” — Brad King
But Brad King went a step further, and explained that William DeHayes had given a video statement to Hernando sheriff’s investigators in which he described and demonstrated the incident; that video shows that DeHayes took the gun from its holster, spun it around his forefinger, caught the butt of the gun in his hand and cocked it, then lowered the hammer as the gun fired.
“Although Mr. DeHayes had put pressure on the trigger to release the hammer, in a virtually identical case from South Florida, the court has held this does not constitute culpable negligence.” — Brad King
Culpable negligence; I guess in Florida, William DeHayes could play with a gun like he was Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western, and if he accidentally, while using a weapon as a toy, kills a woman and her unborn child, well, it’s just sad, but not a crime.
Donna Bryan, obviously, is not happy, and doesn’t accept the, 'Oh Well, He Was Just Playing With The Gun' excuse. She is circulating a petition via Change.org demanding that elected officials file criminal charges against William DeHayes.
How does this happen? How can someone take a weapon out and use it like a toy, and shoot and kill a human being and just get off without a lick of punishment? I mean, if William DeHayes was driving a car and decided to show his friends a move he saw in a Fast and Furious film, and his car had struck and killed a woman on the sidewalk, he would be charged with a crime.
How is this different?
Oh yeah. America loves Guns, or at least the NRA, which controls Congress and so many of our elected officials, loves guns.