Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Teen who killed half sister gets 6 years

Citizen Staff Writer



Sixteen-year-old Shelden Andrew Pruitt was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for the shooting death of his teenage half sister last summer.

In addition to the term for negligent homicide ordered by Pima County Superior Court Judge Frank Dawley, Pruitt received lifetime probation on one count of child abuse.

As part of the plea deal, he accepted responsibility for the shooting and expressed remorse.

Pruitt had been charged with one count of second-degree murder in the July 26, 2008, shooting of Alexandria Salinas, 14, at their father’s Corona de Tucson home. Pruitt pleaded guilty to the lesser charges March 25.

Pruitt was prosecuted as an adult, although he was 15 at the time of the shooting.

He will serve his term in prison as an adult, then be returned to the county jail for at least 100 days while details of the lifetime probation are set up.

For most of his life, Pruitt lived with his mother, siblings and half siblings in Colorado.

He came to live with his father, Roland Salinas, in Tucson several weeks before the shooting. He has no other family here.

Pruitt met his father for the first time during a monthlong visit with him and his family here in 2007.

In 2008, after increasing hostility from his mother, who was in her third marriage, and his stepfather, his father agreed to take Pruitt into his home for a fresh start, according to court records.

A mitigation report, based on school, medical and social service records, filed in the case by his defense attorney states that “Andrew’s stepfather ridiculed him and was verbally abusive to him.”

It also notes his mother’s long failure to maintain him on prescribed medication for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and her decision to treat his symptoms with a diet.

It also points out he had “poor and inconsistent parenting” from birth, noting he had “no consistent father figure” throughout his mother’s multiple marriages. At one point, there were seven children in the home. Her first three children had three different fathers.

The report notes the teen was hospitalized twice for injuring himself and that a psychiatrist recommended he distance himself from both his parents.

Pruitt’s mother was never married to Roland Salinas. Salinas said he wanted no contact with the child unless he had him “24/7,” according to the report.

The boy was moved from Colorado to Alaska and back to Colorado, as his mother changed partners and then married again, in 2007.

Pruitt, who had been bullied for years because of his small stature, said he feared the gangs he’d heard about in Tucson so he took his stepfather’s gun from Colorado to protect himself.

That was the gun used in the fatal shooting.

No motive for the shooting was indicated in court documents.

Teen who killed his half sister sentenced to 6 years

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