A North Little Rock teenager who accidentally killed his best friend while the boys were playing with guns at a house in Maumelle on Thursday accepted a 10-year sentence for manslaughter.

Brandon Miles Davenport Jr. believed the gun was unloaded when he shot 17-year-old Darrell Howard II in the head on April 26, Assistant District Attorney Scott Duncan said. The shooting took place while the two were staying at the Gables de Maumelle Apartments, 700 Union Court.

Davenport, 17, was immediately arrested. Charged as an adult, he was first arrested for first degree assault and battery, but was charged with manslaughter when Howard died two days later.

Davenport pleaded guilty to the Class C felony charge in exchange for the 10-year sentence of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims.

Under the terms of his plea deal, negotiated by Public Defender Andrew Thornton, Davenport will serve a five-year suspended sentence upon release from prison. Manslaughter is a Class C felony carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years, but because a gun was involved Davenport, who turned 18 in July, faced a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Someone in the audience at Thursday’s hearing sobbed loudly as Davenport told the judge he was pleading guilty.

Howard, nicknamed Fiddle by his family, was a junior at North Little Rock High School who was looking forward to graduating this year.

Howard had five siblings, and his mother, Alice Givens, told the judge Howard’s death had “devastated and shattered” the family. Knowing that he died at the hands of a teenager she had loved as her own child “crushed me to the lowest level of my life,” Givens said in tears.

“I have a million things to say, but I’m just broken,” she told the judge. “That’s all I can say.”

Metro on 01/31/2020

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