Woman says she forgives teen who fatally shot son

Suspect released on house arrest

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A 14-year-old boy accused of accidentally shooting his friend over the weekend appeared in court Tuesday.

The teen has not been officially charged, because the state is still considering whether to charge him as a juvenile or an adult.

Families on both sides attended Tuesday's hearing, and the mother of the 14-year-old victim could barely contain her emotion as she told the court that she forgives her son's shooter.

The suspect was arrested Saturday by Miami Gardens police in connection with the fatal shooting of Tavaris Rhodes.

Police said Tavaris was at his grandmother's house when his friend pulled out a loaded gun. It went off and hit Tavaris in the head.

"He's still not coping with it," the suspect's mother, Marie Tessier, said. "He's grieving. (When he) sleeps at night, he thinks about it."

"I believe it was an unfortunate event, an accident, and at some point I think the community has to do something about guns and children," defense attorney Alexander Michaels said.

Over the weekend, a judge ruled that the teen could be released on house arrest rather than go jail. On Tuesday, another judge agreed. 

"I'm relieved and happy about it," Tessier said. "But you know, I'm still hurting because the other side is hurting."

Tavaris' mother questioned the decision to release the suspect from jail.

"I been forgave him through Christ, but I don't think it's fair. He gotta pay. Why?" she said.

"I'm so sorry for what happened," Tessier said. "I wish I could've prevented it from happening or avoid it happening but I wasn't there. I don't know. I'm so sorry for what happened."

The suspect's next court date is scheduled for March 21. 

He is expected to be charged with manslaughter with a deadly weapon and being in possession of a firearm by a minor.

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