A 9-year-old boy punished his little sister for refusing to go to her room by shooting her to death with their father's hunting rifle, authorities say.
Prosecutors charged Brandon Roses with the juvenile equivalent of murder over the objection of his parents, who insist he didn't mean to kill 5-year-old Charolette."A 9-year-old cannot even comprehend taking somebody's life on purpose," said Brandon's mother, Laurel Roses.
But prosecutors contend that Brandon, now 10, killed his sister in a fit of anger.
A hearing will determine if Brandon should be removed from his home for at least 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation. His family wants him to stay home or with an aunt while he gets counseling. The family has been seeing a therapist recommended by their church.
Laurel Roses testified Wednesday that she left Brandon in charge of his sister and 6-year-old brother on June 23 while she took their three older siblings to a dance rehearsal.
Brandon became annoyed with Charo-lette and told her to go to her room, but she refused. He then took the empty rifle from his father's closet and loaded it with shells that he found in one of his brother's foot lockers.
Laurel Roses cried on the witness stand as she confirmed prosecutors' account of the killing.
Brandon, seated at the defense table with his father, often looked bewildered during the hearing. The towheaded boy flashed an occasional smile at family members and friends who packed the courtroom.
"This is a real sensitive little boy, and they're just destroying his life," said Brandon's grandfather, Ramon House. "The little boy knows he disobeyed his parents. He feels real bad about it."
But detective Craig Roberts testified that Brandon's fourth-grade teacher said he had become defiant and confrontational over minor issues in the months before the shooting. Brandon also allegedly threw rocks at his younger brother, Marshall.
"The family was an accident waiting to happen," Roberts recalled the teacher as saying.