Both young girls have been charged with premeditated murder. Police say that 15-year-old Misty "Ariel" Renee Kornegay pulled the trigger and that 11-year-old Nicole Kornegay assisted in the crime. A motive is unknown, although police report that Ariel claimed mistreatment at the hands of her brother. Ariel allegedly waited for her brother to fall asleep and then sneaked into her parents' bedroom, retrieved a handgun and shot him in the living room.
After the murder, both girls walked away from the home, leaving their 3-year-old sister unsupervised. Police found Ariel and Nicole in a nearby town, and after briefly speaking to them, learned of the shooting. The girls' parents, who were a few hours away working, hurried home and were soon arrested. They are being charged in relation to the crime, raising the question of the extent of a parent's responsibility when it comes to the criminal acts of children. Though they had left their children home alone, it certainly isn't unusual for an older teen to have the responsibility of babysitting a 3-year-old, so neglect seems like a harsh accusation.
No one in the Kornegay family had a criminal record prior to the incident, and the small Florida town in Columbia County had no homicides in the previous year. The shocking incident has left the community reeling. "I can't believe this is happening, that someone would do that to their family member," a neighbor told WJAX.
The tragedy should serve as a reminder to families to not leave guns where children or teens can find them. Had the Kornegay girls not had access to a loaded weapon in their parents' bedroom, a teen boy might still be alive today.
Update: While the tragic fact remains that a teen lost his life, new evidence paints a clearer picture of the girl's motive for shooting her brother. Court documents show that the shooter suffered sexual abuse at the hands of an uncle and her brother. Authorities say both the girl's parents and her brother locked her in her room for days at a time with nothing but a blanket and a bucket for relieving herself. In light of these allegations, the parents certainly deserved the charges of neglect.
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