Crime

Santa Maria man pleads guilty to fatally shooting 13-year-old brother

Fernando Navarro, 19, of Santa Maria pleaded guilty Thursday to felony involuntary manslaughter for the unintentional but fatal shooting of his younger brother earlier this year.
Fernando Navarro, 19, of Santa Maria pleaded guilty Thursday to felony involuntary manslaughter for the unintentional but fatal shooting of his younger brother earlier this year.

A 19-year-old Santa Maria man pleaded guilty Thursday to felony involuntary manslaughter for the unintentional but fatal shooting of his younger brother earlier this year, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said.

In Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Fernando Navarro changed his plea in the case stemming from a Feb. 3 shooting of his 13-year-old brother, Leonardo Navarro, an eighth-grader at Tommie Kunst Junior High School.

Leonardo Navarro died after Navarro accidentally discharged a firearm that he was handling in their home in the 600 block of West Polk Street.

Fernando Navarro also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful firearm activity connected to his possession of a weapon while prohibited due to the terms of his probation.

At the time of the shooting, Navarro was on probation for brandishing a replica firearm. His probation on that case was not set to end until January 2020.

Under the plea deal, Navarro likely will be sentenced to a total term of four years and eight months, serving three years in local custody followed by a year and eight months of community supervision, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

In February, at the request of the defendant, and with the support of the family, a judge granted permission for Navarro to attend his brother’s funeral in Santa Maria while accompanied by sheriff’s deputies.

Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu led the prosecution while Deputy Public Defender Sara Elturk represented Navarro.

Navarro will return for sentencing Oct. 4 in front of Superior Court Judge John McGregor.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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