Latrobe man sentenced to up to 12 years in prison for 2017 shooting death
A Latrobe man will serve up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter for the August 2017 shooting death of his 15-year-old friend.
Andrew Stephen Braddy, 18, told a Westmoreland County judge he was guilty of the charges but said nothing more about his role in the shooting death of Devin Capasso. The teen was killed when a gun, held by Braddy, discharged as they listened to rap music in a Latrobe home.
“This was a tragic accident. It was his friend, and there were drugs being consumed. Drugs and guns never mix,” defense attorney Robert Mielnicki said.
Braddy was 17 at the time of the incident. He was initially charged with a general count of criminal homicide, and prosecutors said there was evidence he intended to kill Capasso, a crime that if he was convicted could carry a potential life prison sentence. Defense attorneys have for the last year insisted involuntary manslaughter, which is a killing that occurs as a result of a negligent or reckless act, was the more appropriate charge.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Grace said the plea bargain finalized Monday was appropriate.
“Factually, this charge is the best fit. It involved a reckless killing. This was a situation where young kids were fooling around with guns. There is no evidence of bad blood between them,” Grace said.
Prosecutors said Braddy and four others were in a fourth-floor apartment on Main Street on Aug. 29, 2017, when he and another teen showed off two handguns stolen from vehicles within the past week. As the group listened to rap music, Braddy started to wave one of the guns, manipulated the weapon to prepare it to shoot and told Capasso he was going to fire before he pulled the trigger, police said.
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway imposed terms of the negotiated plea bargain that calls for Braddy to serve six to 12 years in prison.
That sentence includes a 21⁄2 to five-year prison term for the misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter charge, the maximum penalty for that offense. The judge ordered Braddy serve a consecutive term of 31⁄2 to seven years behind bars for a count of possession of an unlicensed firearm.
As part of the plea deal, Braddy withdrew his pretrial motions that included a request to have his case transferred to juvenile court, a move that would have prevented him from remaining in custody beyond his 21st birthday.
Grace said Capasso’s father, who was not in court Monday, approved the deal. The teen’s mother notified prosecutors she was not supportive of the plea bargain but did not respond to attempts to contact her, Grace said. She was not in court for Monday’s hearing.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .