Teen avoids prison after accidentally shooting his friend with a shotgun in Jacksonville

A Jacksonville teen pleaded guilty to attempted manslaughter in Jacksonville last week and will spend a year on house arrest and another three on probation after accidentally shooting his friend. Tyler Willis, 18, shot his friend in the head with two dozen shotgun pellets after the two had smoked marijuana and were going to trade guns, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Willis had said his friend pointed the muzzle of a gun at him and, when he ducked, he dropped the gun and it went off, according to the news report. The friend, then 17, was hospitalized for a night after the January shooting, but was released the next day.

Police didn’t seem to buy Willis’ story at the time, questioning in news reports why the pellets fired in a straight line, not at an angle if the gun was dropped, or how it happened when the gun had an internal trigger lock. Any doubt sure didn’t hurt Willis in terms of reaching an agreement with the state. Willis was facing five years in prison on the attempted manslaughter charge and could have also gotten a few months in the county jail on two Jacksonville misdemeanors – discharging a firearm under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug parapharnelia. The case was resolved quickly, in less than two months, and was part of a negotiated deal with prosecutors. It’s a prime example of a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer navigating the system and working out a solid deal for the client.

How would Willis have fared in a trial? Who knows. In most cases, especially when prosecutors are willing to waive prison time, it isn’t worth the risk. Our Jacksonville Gun Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of clients in cases involving guns. The state is often hesitant to negotiate in such cases, so you need a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to quickly lay out any potential flaws in the case and help move talks along. And if the best scenario is a trial, our gun crimes lawyer is ready to go.

If you or a loved one needs a gun crimes attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.