AFTER A MOTHER pleaded guilty yesterday to involuntary manslaughter in the tragic death of her 11-year-old daughter - who was shot by her 2-year-old brother - the woman's attorney said it was time for the family to heal.
Attorney Eugene Tinari said he hoped that Common Pleas Judge Glenn Bronson would "fashion a sentence that will allow [the mother] to reunite with her children to begin the healing process."
But Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said the defendant, Tiffany Goldwire, 31, deserves more prison time when she is sentenced Feb. 27.
Pescatore read a summary of the facts of the case in court. She said that at 9:53 a.m. April 5, police responded to a call at Goldwire's home on Wallace Street near 38th in Mantua and found the mother holding her 11-year-old daughter, Jamara Stevens, who was shot. The girl was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was pronounced dead at 10:29 a.m.
Pescatore said Goldwire told cops that the night before, a man she knew as Mark went to her house and asked to leave his gun, a .357-caliber Magnum revolver. He put it on top of a refrigerator in the dining room.
Goldwire said she left to go out to a bar and returned home a few hours later, drunk. She told her 14-year-old son to put the gun in a safe place.
According to a statement given by the 14-year-old to cops, he said he put the gun under a bed in which his 2-year-old brother formerly slept, in the mother's bedroom. He said his mother was in the room but was drunk and high on pills.
The 14-year-old said that in the morning, he was in his mom's bedroom when Jamara was on their mother's bed texting her friends. Their mother, who was in the room, went to the bathroom.
The teen said his 2-year-old brother was playing in the room and ended up reaching under his former bed to get a toy truck.
That's when the 2-year-old found the gun, said "Pow, pow" to Jamara and "that's when the gun went off," the 14-year-old said.
Goldwire, in her statement to cops, said that while she was in the bathroom she heard Jamara scream, "Mom, help me!" She then saw Jamara running down the hallway, bleeding.
Goldwire told cops that when Mark - Goldwire said she wasn't sure of his last name or where he lived - took the gun off his waist the night before, "it was already cocked back," Pescatore said.
Pescatore showed the gun, to give the judge a sense of how long and heavy it is, but said that because the trigger pull was in a cocked-back position, a 2-year-old easily could have fired it. The prosecutor said the bullet traveled through Jamara's right shoulder and lodged in her chest.
In addition to the involuntary-manslaughter charge, Goldwire pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of children. Pescatore said afterward that authorities don't know who Mark is, due to a lack of information from the mother.