- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans security guard is free on $35,000 bond in the death of her 3-year-old grandson, who was killed when a handgun under her pillow went off while both slept.

News media report that Deonca Kennedy was released Friday after an appearance on charges of negligent homicide, child desertion and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.

Magistrate Commissioner Jonathan Friedman told Kennedy he thinks the desertion charge is a strained interpretation of the law, but it probably will go to trial, The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1QmRPHv ) reported. But he told her sleeping with a gun under her pillow was like leaving a venomous snake in the bed with the child.

Under state law, both desertion and second-degree cruelty charges can be based on criminal negligence. Negligent homicide carries up to five years in prison, and second-degree cruelty up to 40 years.

Police testified that Kennedy had a graze wound on one arm and tested positive for gunpowder residue,WVUE-TV (https://bit.ly/1SG4M2F ) reported.

More than 15 supporters came to court, but those asked for interviews declined, NOLA.com ‘ The Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1JvxLU1 ) reported.

Kennedy’s bond was set at $25,000 for the negligent homicide charge and $5,000 for each of the other two charges.

She was represented by attorney Joe Rome.

The Orleans Public Defenders Office filed a motion to not represent Kennedy, WDSU-TV reported (https://bit.ly/1OQluX2).

The office said earlier this month that it has too few attorneys and too little money to properly handle any additional cases.

The ACLU has sued the office, saying the decision goes against people’s constitutional right to representation.


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