COVINGTON - The 21-year-old man who shot and killed a 15-year-old girl inside his home over the Christmas holidays in 2006 pleaded guilty in Newton County Superior Court Friday.
According to Chief Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon, Robert Quintrell Broughton of 70 Flat Rock Road entered a plea of guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, making false statements in a matter within a political subdivision and interference with custody.
Broughton was sentenced to 20 years with the first 10 to be served in confinement. He was also ordered to obtain his GED degree, have no contact with the family of the victim and pay funeral expenses to the family as restitution.
"We met with investigators, the crime scene expert and medical examiner and determined it would be extremely difficult to disprove Mr. Broughton's version of events. We offered him the opportunity to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter based on his reckless handling of the gun in this case," said Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne.
Broughton had originally been charged with malice murder and felony murder.
"Taking all circumstances into account, we explained the evidence to (the victim's family) and we offered Mr. Broughton the opportunity to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge," Wynne said.
Wynne said Broughton had maintained that the young girl had gotten the gun from him and he was trying to get it back from her and the gun went off during the struggle.
Wynne said no evidence of motive or intention to hurt the girl was discovered, although Broughton did flee the scene of the crime, disposed of the weapon and gave misleading information to investigators.
NCSO investigators went to the home in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, 2006, after Broughton's father called to report that there was a girl in his house with no heartbeat and no pulse. When the 911 dispatcher began giving the man CPR instructions, he told her the girl had been shot in the head, according to an earlier interview with Lt. Bill Watterson.
Upon arrival at the home, officers found the body of Matia Logan.
Broughton's parents told investigators they had never seen the victim before and were unaware of her presence in the home at the time the shooting took place. They said their son had fled the house after telling them the girl was dead and threatened to kill himself.
He was picked up later that morning and has been in custody since that time.
Broughton's mother, Trellias Broughton, 56, was also arrested the day following the incident and charged with making false statements to authorities in connection with the case. Her charges are still pending, the DA said.