Crime

Centralia teen sentenced in ‘Russian Roulette’ death of 13-year-old

20 kids ages 10 to 19 have been shot and killed in Southern Illinois since 2014

According to data from the national Gun Violence Archive, 532 children and teenagers have been fatally shot in Illinois in the last five years.
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According to data from the national Gun Violence Archive, 532 children and teenagers have been fatally shot in Illinois in the last five years.

A Centralia teen will serve up to five years in juvenile detention for his part in 13-year-old Jaden Krauss’ death.

In May, the juvenile pleaded guilty in Marion County to involuntary manslaughter after Krauss was shot in the head on a rainy morning in early May.

Judge Ericka Sanders sentenced the 15-year-old Wednesday after hearing 3 1/2 hours of testimony and argument, according to Southern Illinois Now. That included videotaped interviews with the defendant and others who were present in the Centralia home at 103 South Pine where Krauss was killed in May.

The testimony indicated that Krauss died during a “Russian Roulette” type game where the defendant pointed a gun with one live bullet at his own head and then at other juveniles in the room until Krauss was shot in the head.

The defendant claimed that Krauss was shot while he was cleaning the weapon. That weapon was never found during the investigation.

In a statement, the defendant stated he was sorry, and he would have never shot Krauss on purpose.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Melissa Doran, after Krauss was shot, his body was carried down a flight of stairs and placed on the front porch. She also stated that bloody towels and rags were found in the home and that there was some evidence that the gun was removed from the property and hidden.

She asked for the maximum sentence for the defendant because of his dishonesty and attempts to hide the truth.

Five years is the maximum sentence for a juvenile, but the actual length of incarceration will be determined by Department of Corrections staff.

Krauss’ mother and grandmother made victim impact statements in which they recalled the teen’s talent for making people laugh and their disbelief over his death, the radio station reported.

His mother, Jaianna Grant, told the defendant that he had given her son a life sentence but that he had his entire life still ahead of him.

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Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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