Man who shot friend in court |

Man who shot friend in court

The man accused of killing a 16-year-old South Lake Tahoe boy Feb. 9 will be in court today when testimony begins in a preliminary hearing before an El Dorado County Superior Court judge.

The judge will decide if there is enough evidence against 23-year-old Thomas O’Connor to warrant holding him for trial. O’Connor was charged with second-degree murder after allegedly shooting Brad Parent in the chest while showing off a .38-caliber handgun he had been given by a security company where he was employed.

O’Connor knew the weapon was loaded but told the police the shooting was an accident, according to Detective Martin Hewlett of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.

“He feels horrible,” said O’Connor’s attorney, Jordan Morganstern. “They were very good friends who had spent a lot of time together and were on excellent terms as friends when the accident took place.”

Parent was killed in O’Connor’s apartment on D Street.

After he was shot, O’Connor and three teen-age girls who were also in the apartment, carried Parent to a car and drove him to Barton Memorial Hospital where doctors were unable to save his life.

A charge of second-degree murder implies the District Attorney’s Office believes O’Connor showed malice and a conscious disregard for human life when he shot Parent.

“Our assessment is that this is the appropriate charge,” said Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe.

Hewlett said that O’Connor loaded the revolver with one bullet and pointed it at Parent. He allegedly pulled the trigger several times and fired the weapon when the hammer fell on a loaded chamber.

If he is convicted O’Connor could face life in prison.

“In my opinion, this whole case arises from an unfortunate accident,” Morganstern said. “While Mr. O’Connor has been charged with murder he is still innocent in the eyes of the law, and I would hate the community to rush to judgment in view of the fact that this is just a tragic accident.”

O’Connor is being held without bail at El Dorado County Jail.

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