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Mpls Father of Son Who Fatally Shot Brother Faces Prison | News

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Mpls Father of Son Who Fatally Shot Brother Faces Prison
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A jury has found a Minneapolis father guilty of manslaughter and child endangerment after one of his sons accidentally shot and killed his younger brother.

Kao Xiong was convicted Friday in Hennepin County District Court of two felony counts of second-degree manslaughter and two gross misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

Xiong's family declined to comment on the verdict Friday at court.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy, and eminently preventable," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

Xiong's elder son, age 4, shot and killed his 2-year-old brother, Neejnco Xiong, on Dec. 5 after finding the gun in a bed between the headboard and the mattress at their home in the Riverside neighborhood, according to a criminal complaint.

The safety was missing on the gun, according to the complaint. Police found a total of eight guns in the home.

"He looked at me after they reached the verdict, and he looked at me and said, 'I'm sorry,'" said Steve Meshbesher, Xiong's defense attorney.

Meshbesher insisted the jury made a mistake.
 
"It was not reckless. It was not intentional. It was an accident, and accidents are not crimes," Meshbesher said.
 
"I'm not surprised, to be honest with you," said Mike Padden, a criminal defense attorney not involved with the Xiong case.
 
"You've got to try to plead a case like this. This is a very difficult case to win in front of a jury, in my opinion," Padden said.
 
Padden said this case could convince defense attorneys in similar cases to push harder for plea bargains.
 
But for Freeman, the message is not a legal lesson. It's a life lesson. 
 
"Folks, if you've got a gun, and it's in your home, keep it unloaded and locked," Freeman said.
 
He got the conviction he wanted, but also said no one wanted this.
 
"I have no sense of satisfaction other than, we did our jobs as professional, as we're supposed to do. I wish this kid was alive. That's what I wish," Freeman said.

Xiong told police that he and his wife were getting ready for lunch when they heard a gunshot, according to the complaint. Xiong went upstairs and found his 2-year-old son with a gunshot wound and his 4-year-old son under the bed.

Neejnco died in an ambulance shortly after he was shot.

Xiong was found not guilty of a third count of child endangerment. His sentencing is scheduled for June 27.

Freeman said Xiong will likely face no more than four years in prison.

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