Mother arrested in fatal shooting of 8-year-old son - abc27 WHTM

Mother arrested in fatal shooting of 8-year-old son

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Jessica Pfaff Jessica Pfaff

The mother of an 8-year-old boy who was fatally shot by his younger brother at a Shippensburg-area home over the Labor Day weekend has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Jessica Rose Pfaff, 32, of Greencastle, was additionally charged Thursday with two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment, according to state police in Carlisle.

Pfaff's son died at a hospital four days after the Sept. 1 shooting at her boyfriend's home in the first block Broad Street in Southampton Township, where Pfaff had been staying with her two children.

According to the criminal complaint, Pfaff was not taking any action to care for her injured son when troopers responded to the home, appeared lethargic, and at one point climbed back into bed.

As her wounded child was removed from the home by emergency responders, Pfaff stated that she was tired and yawned, police said in the complaint.

She later told authorities the she did not hear the gunshot, but that her 6-year-old son woke her and told her that he shot his brother, the complaint states.

Pfaff told troopers she was prescribed at least 14 medications that she took daily, including medicines for diabetes, sleep issues and depression. Lab results confirmed the presence of seven drugs in her blood, including a metabolite of cocaine, the complaint states.

Pfaff later admitted that she snorted her prescription pills through a straw and gave her medications to others, and while she stated she previously used cocaine she denied any recent or current cocaine use, police said in the document.

Police said a loaded revolver and a loaded rifle were kept next to the bed in the master bedroom, and the younger boy told them he retrieved the handgun from the mattress and pulled the trigger while his brother watched a movie in the room.

Authorities added that the home had "deplorable conditions" and a strong odor of animal feces, was cluttered with debris and boxes that contained Pfaff's and her children's belongings, and had large knives throughout the home, including some in reach of the children.

The court document states that Children and Youth Services had received a complaint about living conditions in the home and had made an unannounced visit two weeks earlier, when no one was home.

The complaint to CYS was that the children were fending for themselves, that there were fleas and bugs in the home, and that the boys were being exposed to drug use, police said in court documents.

Investigators added that police were at Pfaff's home twice in 2008, when she was living in Waynesboro, and that officers found dirty clothing and used diapers on the floors, spoiled food on the counters and table, and animal feces throughout the residence.

Pfaff was placed in Cumberland County Prison on $60,000 cash bail.

A preliminary hearing was tentatively scheduled Monday.


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