A criminal charge against a Lakewood man accused of supplying the gun that killed his nephew’s 13-year-old friend has been dropped after prosecutors said they were having trouble proving how the nephew got the gun.
Richard Gastelum, 22, was charged with delivery of a firearm to an ineligible person, after prosecutors said he gave a gun to then-17-year-old Adonis Brown.
The teen accidentally shot and killed 13-year-old Alexander Demello last year as they walked in a wooded area of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Prosecutors dismissed the charge against Gastelum on Oct. 28 with prejudice, which means they cannot refile the charge.
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Gastelum’s attorney, Heather Straub, said in a statement this week: “The motion indicates that the dismissal was due to evidentiary problems which reduced the State’s ability to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Mr. Gastelum is very pleased with this outcome and has no additional comment.”
He told police he didn’t realize the gun was loaded, and that it went off when he fidgeted with it Oct. 20, 2015, near the 15000 block of Woodbrook Drive Southwest.