- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - A judge has sentenced 19-year-old Jonathan Ian Morales to serve 17 years in prison in the fatal shooting Sadie Warden, his 13-year-old stepsister.

Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson imposed the maximum penalty of 20 years for manslaughter Monday and suspended three years, leaving 17 years to serve plus three years of probation.

Morales pleaded guilty in February.

Prosecutors said Morales was the one who called police on May 30, 2012 - the day of the shooting. He told the 911 operator his sister had been hit by a drive-by shooter. When police arrived, the story didn’t add up.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Lusk said the evidence showed Morales shot the victim in the shoulder from behind as she sat on her bedroom floor. Morales told investigators he got the shotgun from his parent’s bedroom, and was just trying to scare his sister, Lusk said.

Lusk said testimony would show Morales dragged Sadie’s body outside the home to make it appear as if someone else shot her.

His attorney, Rufus Alldredge, said Morales thought the gun was unloaded.

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