Loss of friend ‘punishment enough,’ mother of shooting victim tells court|[05/09/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2008

The shooting death of a 20-year-old Vicksburg man has resulted in a bill of information, bypassing the Warren County grand jury in session this week.

Instead of facing indictment, 20-year-old Demarcus Preacely, who lived at 1320 Second St. with Delvin Paige, the man he admitted accidentally killing on Oct. 27, pleaded guilty Tuesday to culpable negligence manslaughter.

The process allows an accused person to accept responsibility for an offense without going to trial.

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According to Assistant District Attorney Dewey Arthur, the move was made after the victim’s mother said she didn’t want to see Preacely serve time in prison.

“This woman was the most kind-hearted victim I’ve met in my years as a prosecutor,” Arthur said. “She said she had known the defendant for a long time, that the two boys were lifelong friends and she knew the loss of his friend would be punishment enough.”

“We’re really here for the victims and their families,” Arthur added. “And when a family member makes a request like this, we have to take that into consideration. We’re not going to add injury to their loss.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Warren County Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick handed Preacely a suspended 10-year sentence and five years’ probation. Preacley was ordered to pay restitution of $350 per month to the victim’s mother, which Arthur said will go to a special-needs child whom Paige left behind.

According to reports, Paige was wounded by a single .38 caliber pistol round and was driven by private vehicle to River Region Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 7:21 p.m. The bullet had apparently hit him in the buttocks, went up through his abdomen and stopped in his chest.

Preacely was arrested by Vicksburg police a little more than an hour later at River Region.

Arthur, like the defendant and the victim’s mother, said the fatal shooting was “clearly accidental.”

“The two were carelessly playing with a gun and it went off,” Arthur said. “On the 911 call, you can hear the defendant giving CPR to the victim.”

“It was careless, but it was clearly accidental.”