CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A Conway man pleaded guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter for the death of his two-year-old son, who accidentally shot himself on Christmas Day 2012.
Sincere Smith, who would have turned three in March, was shot on Daisy Lane at around 6 p.m. Christmas Day.
According to court documents, 30-year-old Rondell Jovan Smith left a loaded firearm unattended in the home, and Sincere Smith accidentally fired a single round into his torso. The child was transported to Grand Strand Regional center where he later died.
Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for the Horry County Police Dept., said the gun, which was sitting on a table when the child grabbed it, belonged Rondell Jovan Smith of Conway.
Smith was charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center in January with a $500 personal recognizance bond.
On August 8, 2013, Smith pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, which is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison. Because this offense involves a child and carries a five-year penalty, Smith may be entered into the state's Central Registry for Child Abuse and Neglect, and his DNA may remain in the database for the rest of his life.
The family said Smith is a good father, and only had the gun after he had concerns about his neighborhood.
Neighbors who live near Daisy Lane said the accidental shooting could have been prevented.
"I'm shocked that a baby got killed on Christmas. We just had people do a shootout in school in Newark, [Newton] Connecticut and kill a bunch of people and that's crazy. I mean people shouldn't have guns if they're not gonna have them locked up," Steve Nelson said.
"People should have a right to have guns. It's up to the people in making sure they're safe. I'm a firm believer on this. There's no reason why somebody can't go out and hunt and then lock their gun up. It's people who are being stupid and leaving things like that laying around. A child should've never gotten it. And that's the bottom line," Luci Robbins said.