Redlinger family reacts to sentencing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Redlinger family reacts to sentencing

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An eastern Iowa mother speaks out the day after a teen who accidentally shot and killed her daughter avoids significant jail time.

Fourteen year old Emma Redlinger was shot at a home in Vinton in February of 2015 and died a few days later.

Police say her friend William Hines Jr. mishandled the gun and hit Redlinger.

Hines was a minor at the time, but was charged as an adult. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges.

This week a judge sentenced Hines to 60 days of work release. Police say the now 19-year-old admitted to holding the gun, but denied intentionally firing it.

Fifty-three year old Robyn Merchant was arrested for giving the rifle used in the shooting to her son. She was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

After Thursday's sentencing Emma Redlinger's mother says she is happy with the judge's decision. Saying this accident took her daughter's life and she didn't want it to take Will's as well.

Aimee Redlinger recalls the moment she heard about what happened to her daughter.

"He just said 'Emma's been shot' and then it's a blur after that...everything's a blur," said Redlinger.

Redlinger says she has little details of that night.

"The other boy had picked it up and was playing around with the gun and this is the result," said Redlinger.

Thursday Hines was sentence to 60 days in jail and Emma's mother says she is happy with the decision.

"I didn't want to see Will go to prison, I don't think that would have served a purpose at all," said Redlinger. "I know it wasn't intentional, I am sure if he had to do it all over again he would do it very differently."

For now the family still has many questions.

"One of the things I always wonder is what was going through Emma's mind right before she was shot," said Redlinger. "Was she scared? Was she trying to ignore him so he would go away? Was she thinking he shouldn't be playing? I struggle with that a lot."

Emma's older sister remembers the day she had to say goodbye.

"I was just telling her how great she was and how I wish I would have told her when she was alive and everything like that and she started crying and squeezed my hand and that was kind of my goodbye," said Haelea Breitbach, sister.

Emma's mom says Will wrote the family a letter apologizing for what he did. She says she has not received the letter from county attorney yet.

The family says they know a lot of people disagree with the verdict and think Will should have went to prison, but they say they are content with the judge's decision.

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