JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - A man was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday for leaving a loaded gun out at a Lakewood home, where a 3-year-old boy accidentally fired it, killing his 5-year-old brother, authorities said.
Adam Dean Laham, 24, of Wichita, Kan.,was sentenced in Jefferson County court on a felony charge of negligent child abuse causing death. He pled guilty to that charge in November, said Pam Russell, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
The tragic death happened while Laham was visiting a family at a Lakewood apartment in December, 2011. His friends had three small children, ages 3, 5 and 6, and Laham was sleeping in the children's room.
Laham left his Kel-Tech .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun on a box he was using as a nightstand when he got out of bed and went to smoke a cigarette on the morning of Dec. 23, according to an arrest affidavit.
Laham told police he knew 5-year-old Rolyn Javier wanted to get back into the room to play with this Xbox, so Laham told the boy it was OK.
Laham and several other adults were in the living room and the children went to play in their room, Russell said.
A short while later, there was a gunshot.
The boy's father, Donald Javier, told investigators he ran into the room and saw his 3-year-old son drop the gun and his 5-year-old son lying on the floor.
Police said Rolyn was shot in the chest. He died a short time later at a hospital
"It was totally my fault. I sleep with my gun by my head," Laham told police, according to the affidavit.
Police found numerous guns inside the apartment. They were all loaded, with a round in the chamber, Russell said.
"As adults we have to protect our children," said District Attorney Peter Weir said Thursday. "This irresponsible decision to leave a gun within the reach of a child has had terrible consequences for everyone involved. We are very pleased with this sentence."
While Laham was on bond waiting to be sentenced in this case, he was arrested three times on drug and gun charges in Kansas and Arkansas, Russell said.