Child admits to killing man, cannot be charged in Texas

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A death threat made by one child to another on a school bus has cracked a homicide case dating back more than two years.

The Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office says in a release a 10-year-old boy is admitting to shooting and killing Brandon O’Quinn Rasberry, 32, in an RV park on January 18th, 2022. Since the boy was only 7 years old at the time, Texas law states he cannot be criminally charged for the crime.

Deputies responded to the Lazy J RV Park in Nixon on report of a man found unresponsive. The owner of the park was trying to check on Rasberry after getting a call from his employer saying he had not shown up for work in two days.

Further investigation found that Rasberry had been shot in the head, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Evidence was collected for forensic analysis, including data from Rasberry’s cell phone, but detectives could not come up with any leads in the case.

What was clear was that Rasberry was shot while he slept in his RV. He had no other signs of trauma, other than two graze wounds to his fingers. The Gonzales County Medical Examiner found that Rasberry had been dead for about two days before he was found by sheriff’s deputies. Investigators found that Rasberry had just moved into the RV park four days prior to his death.

Investigators would have to wait until Friday, April 12, 2024 to get a break in the case.

GCSO got a call from a Nixon Smiley Independent School District Principle saying one of her students had threatened to kill another student the day before. The call was made after the district performed a risk assessment on the student.

A deputy was sent to investigate, and he was told by school officials the child who made the threats had also mentioned having killed a man two years ago. From there, the deputy called the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division and the child was then taken in for a forensic interview.

During the interview the child described in detail that he had shot and killed a man in a trailer in Nixon. Other details were given that showed the child likely had first-hand knowledge of the shooting, including the type of gun that was used. The date of Sunday, January 16 was given as the date of the shooting. 

Investigators also found that the child’s grandfather also lived in the RV park, not far from where Rasberry lived.

The child told detectives he walked into Rasberry’s RV with a 9 millimeter pistol he pulled out of the glove box of his grandfather’s truck. After finding Rasberry asleep, he pointed the gun and fired, hitting the victim once in the head. The child said the gun was then returned to his grandfather’s truck.

During the interview, the child told investigators he had never met Rasberry and that he was not angry with him.

Soon after the confession, detectives were able to locate the gun at a pawn shop in nearby Seguin. Further investigation showed that shell casings found at the scene were fired by the same gun found at the pawn shop.

The child was placed on a 72-hour emergency detention, due to the nature of the crime. After being evaluated at a San Antonio psychiatric hospital, the child was taken to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office to be booked on charges related to making a ‘terroristic threat.’ The child was placed on detention by Gonzales County Juvenile Probation to await a future court date.

Because of the child’s age, Texas Penal Code 8.07 says a child does not have criminal culpability until they reach the age of ten years old. At the time of the murder the juvenile suspect was seven years old, one week shy of his 8th birthday. Therefore charges for murder will not be filed and cannot be accepted by the Gonzales County Attorney’s Office for consideration of prosecution in accordance with state law.

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