Accused in accidental shooting of 17-year-old girl at Miami Airbnb pleads guilty and will be released from prison in October – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

MIAMI (WSVN) — A young man who confessed to accidentally shooting a 17-year-old girl has pleaded guilty in court, while standing in front of the victim’s heartbroken family.

A few hours later, a judge sentenced the 20-year-old to several weeks in prison, followed by a training camp.

Michael McGowan was 17 when, he said, he opened fire on an Airbnb in Miami on May 18, 2020.

Now 20, the accused faced a judge and the family of the victim, Giselle Rengifo, on Thursday.

It was a tense and emotional day, and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lody Jean used harsh words to silence the victim’s brother, who was seated next to his sister and mother.

“No, that’s disrespectful. Stop STOP!” says John.

Rengifo’s mother broke down in tears as she also spoke.

“I don’t hear her call me ‘Mom’ anymore. “Mommy, I love you, mommy, mommy! “You took that from me,” she said, pointing at McGowan.

McGowan pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Rengifo’s death.

Investigators said a group of friends had gathered at the Airbnb at the time of the shooting.

McGowan has always maintained that he discharged the firearm by accident. His lawyer, Jude Faccidomo, again made this argument in court.

“It was the result of an accident. Everyone in the room handled this weapon. Everyone in the room, including the deceased, Your Honor, was reckless with this weapon,” Faccidomo said. “That bullet didn’t have anyone’s name on it. Michael isn’t just here because it was his gun. More importantly, he’s here because he was the last one to hold it when it exploded.”

Lawyers also told Jean that her client had a troubled childhood, dealing with homelessness and abuse. They asked the judge to consider his age at the time of the crime and sentence him to boot camp instead of jail.

But prosecutors have argued that McGowan’s age is no excuse for his actions.

“He wasn’t a child. He’s not 10, he’s not 11 and he’s not 12. He’s not even 15; he was almost 18,” he said. said prosecutor Michael Spivak “If you want Giselle’s life to have meaning, judge, you have to send her to prison.”

After the hearing, Rengifo’s sister, Salome Jackson, said her family wanted justice.

“You don’t just hold a gun to someone’s head and pull the trigger and call it an accident,” she said.

McGowan had the chance to speak and apologize to the victim’s family.

“She’s gone, and I’m so sorry it was my fault,” he said, holding back tears.

Shortly before 6 p.m., after a short break in the audience, Jean returns with his decision.

“You will be sentenced to 364 days in Dade County Jail. It has been mitigated by the passage of time,” she said.

The judge’s decision means McGowan will be released from prison in October. From there, he will go to training camp for three to four months. After that, he will be on probation for five years and will be listed as a convicted felon.

The sentence was not what Rengifo’s family had hoped for.

A scuffle broke out involving members of the victim’s family. They were arrested by Miami-Dade police officers.

“After he killed my daughter, and he’s still serving his sentence?!” said Rengifo’s mother.

McGowan had faced 30 years in prison. As part of his sentence, he was ordered to share his story with high school students once a year while on probation.

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