Boy who killed half sister pleads to negligent homicideby Heidi Rowley on Mar. 26, 2009, under Local, Special
A teenager accused of killing his 14-year-old half sister will likely spend less than a decade in prison, following a plea deal agreed upon in court Wednesday.
Pima County Superior Court spokesman David Ricker said Shelden Andrew Pruitt, 16, who had been charged with second-degree murder, pleaded to one charge of negligent homicide and one charge of child abuse.
Ricker said Pruitt can get four to eight years in prison for negligent homicide and will likely face lifetime probation on the child abuse charge.
The plea was taken in the courtroom of Judge Frank Dawley, who Ricker said questioned both the defense and prosecution attorneys extensively over the reduced charges.
Ricker said the attorneys “discussed the plea with the family and the family had agreed to it.”
Pruitt was set to go to trial in April.
On July 26, 14-year-old Alexandria Salinas was killed by a single shot to the head.
Interviews with family members shortly after the shooting revealed that Pruitt was jealous of Salinas.
Pruitt, who grew up in Colorado, came to Tucson to live with his father, Roland Salinas and stepmother, Abby Wagner, about three weeks before the shooting.
He had never lived with his father before but had visited the summer before the killing.
Salinas said he agreed to take Pruitt in after Pruitt’s mother had threatened to turn him over to the Colorado foster care system, telling him she was giving up on taking care of him, according to Citizen archives.
Ricker said the child abuse charges stem from Pruitt pulling a gun on Salinas several times prior to shooting her.
Pruitt will be sentenced April 27.