LEESBURG, Ga. — Two adults face involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the .410-shotgun death of 10-year-old Rickie Jenkins in Smithville, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation report.
Jenkins suffered a shotgun wound to the leg at the hands of a 7-year-old old neighbor boy while the two played with a loaded shotgun they found in the 141 Railroad Street residence of Virginia Carter, 58, and Ronald Thomas, 57, Monday. Jenkins died at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
GBI special-agent Danny Jackson said Carter and Thomas were charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and tampering with evidence. Thomas also faces a charge of possession of a gun by a felon.
“It all came about from the reckless actions of the adults not securing the weapon,” said Jackson. “Thomas is a felon and should not have had a gun at all, and they failed to secure the weapon.”
Jackson added that Carter is the grandmother of at least one of the children the victim visited at her residence where the loaded shotgun was found in a bedroom along with a BB gun.
Carter and Thomas took the shotgun out of the bedroom and the residence to hide it, Jackson said. That action led to the tampering charge.
Thomas was arrested in Smithville, and Carter was arrested in Terrell County. Terrell County Sheriff’s Office deputies brought Carter to Lee County, where Lee Sheriff’s Office deputies took her to join Thomas in Lee County Jail for booking Wednesday.
Jackson added that anyone who has a gun has to keep it unloaded, out of children’s reach, locked in a gun safe with a trigger lock on the gun.