Crime

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in shooting of Tacoma teenager

Staff writer`May 1, 2014 

A 20-year-old Tacoma man pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a teenager last fall.

Tanielu Lotovaivai faces a recommended term of eight years, six months in prison when he's sentenced June 6 in Pierce County Superior Court.

Lotovaivai admitted he shot Jalon Bea, 17, on the night of Oct. 14.

Lotovaivai told police he was "playing around" with a .38-caliber revolver he thought was unloaded when he pointed it at Bea and pulled the trigger. There was a single cartridge still in the gun, court records show. Bea was hit in the chest.

Lotovaivai and friends loaded Bea into a car and drove him to a local hospital, where the boy died. Lotovaiva then fled but was arrested a few days later.

Bea's family had urged prosecutors to consider filing a first-degree murder charge in the case, but prosecutors said the defendant's version of events matched the physical evidence and that a manslaughter charge was appropriate.

 

 

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