Teen Convicted In Friend's Death Placed On Probation

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - A 14-year-old who accidentally shot and killed a playmate walked out of court with the blessing of his dead friend's family.

A judge decided the shooter should not spend any more time in custody and put the teen on probation Monday.

Jorj Nennig, 14, was killed Aug. 13 by a shotgun blast to the face while playing in a Canton Township home.

Nennig's parents managed to put their grief on hold long enough to tell the boy responsible that they don't hate him. Instead, they offered tearful encouragement.

"All I can say is our prayers are with you and your family," Jorj's father, Allen Nennig, said during a court hearing Monday. "I just hope somehow you can forgive yourself and go on and be strong."

The forgiveness probably played a big role in the boy getting probation, said Jeffrey Jakmides, his attorney.

The boy and Jorj were playing with shotguns taken out of an unlocked basement cabinet inside the shooter's home, prosecutors said. The boy's father, who is divorced from the mother, was not home.

The boy pleaded true, the juvenile court equivalent of guilty, to reckless homicide. A tampering with evidence charge was merged into it. Stark County Family Court Judge Jim James rejected a motion to transfer the boy's case to adult court.

The judge did not to send the boy back to juvenile detention, as the prosecutor recommended. A six month stay in the state juvenile prison system is suspended as long as the boy follows the terms of his probation.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)