Friday, June 02, 2017

TOP STORY >> Shooting of girl set to go to trial

Leader staff writer

A Beebe man accused in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl will have a jury trial on Tuesday, June 13 in White County Circuit Court, Law Enforcement Center Courtroom.

Jeremiah Owens, 26, faces a felony charge of manslaughter in the death of Karma Wezowicz, who was shot on Feb. 27 at 210 S. Cypress St., Apt. D while Owens was examining a loaded gun.

Karma succumbed to her injuries four days later at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Owens entered a not guilty plea in April.

According to the affidavit, Beebe police were called at 8:03 p.m. on Feb. 27 to the apartment. The caller reported hearing screaming, shuffling and a gunshot.

Police arrived to see Matthew Wezowicz standing in the driveway of the residence holding his daughter. She had a gunshot wound near her right eye. She was taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The girl was pronounced brain dead on March 1 and removed from a ventilator on March 4.

When interviewed by Beebe police, Wezowicz said he, his mother, his daughter and his friend Owens were in the home at the time of the shooting.

Wezowicz purchased a new Taurus .38-caliber handgun earlier in the day and had it in a holster on his right hip. He said Owens was sitting next to him on a loveseat and asked to see the gun. He handed Owens the gun. Owens handed it back to him and Wezowicz placed the gun back in the holster.

Wezowicz said that a few minutes later, he looked at his daughter, who was sitting on a couch beside the loveseat. Wezowicz heard a gunshot and saw his daughter fall forward.

Owens told investigators he was at Wezowicz’s home for 30 minutes. Before he came over, he drank two 32-ounce cans of beer and took a couple of Valium pills.

Owens said Wezowicz had the gun out, and Owens asked if he could look at it. Owens said he did not know the gun was loaded.

Owens had the gun down in his lap looking at it, and the gun fired.

Police found the gun underneath the loveseat where Owens was sitting. Investigators said it appeared the bullet passed in front of Matthew Wezowicz. It went through the arm of the loveseat before striking the girl.