Attorneys work to resolve charges in accidental death of boy

4-year-old shot himself with father’s handgun in 2012

A prosecutor and a defense lawyer said Monday they’re negotiating to resolve state charges against a Baton Rouge man whose 4-year-old son accidentally shot and killed himself with his father’s gun at their Iroquois Street home two years ago.

Shawn Dean Sr., 28, is charged in state district court with negligent homicide and felon in possession of a firearm in the Feb. 8, 2012, death of Shawn Dean Jr.

The elder Dean pleaded guilty in federal district court in October 2012 to drug and weapons charges but has not been sentenced. Dean, who remains in federal custody, faces up to life in prison on some of those charges.

The federal charges, which were filed in July 2012, include possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and Xanax; distribution of crack cocaine; possession of cocaine; conspiracy to possess marijuana; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and several counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The majority of Dean’s federal charges involve conduct that occurred in the fall and winter of 2011, prior to his son’s death, but one of the federal gun charges relates directly to the gun involved in the boy’s accidental death.

Dean, who appeared Monday before state District Judge Lou Daniel for a status conference on his state charges, will return to Daniel’s courtroom Sept. 15 for another status hearing.

“We’re going to resolve it Sept. 15,” Dean’s state court attorney, Robert Tucker, said of the state charges.

“This is just a tragic situation,” he added about the death of Dean’s son.

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney David deBlieux confirmed he is in negotiations with Tucker but declined to elaborate. Dean faces up to five years on the negligent homicide charge, and 10 to 20 years on the firearm charge, the prosecutor said.

Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department believe Dean left the handgun out and within the reach of his son, who grabbed it and accidentally shot himself in the head.

The fatal shooting happened while the boy’s father was running an errand and the boy’s mother was sleeping, police have said.

Dean hid the gun before police arrived, but it was later found in a field near the family’s home at 2944 Iroquois St.

The home was destroyed by an arsonist about two weeks after the shooting. The power to the house had been turned off and no one was inside when firefighters arrived.