Ohio dad held in girl's death seeks funeral pass

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Associated Press

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 11:36 AM

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati man charged in the accidental shooting death of his 11-year-old daughter planned to ask a judge Thursday to let him out of jail to attend her funeral, while a county prosecutor criticized the girl's family for their roles in the matter.

An attorney for the man, Deandre Kelley, filed a motion Wednesday asking that his client be allowed to attend Saturday's services for his daughter Shanti Lanza. The motion said Kelley is unable to post the $500,000 bond to get out of jail but wants a furlough under "appropriate law enforcement" supervision.

Kelley's attorney, Hugh McCloskey Jr., declined to comment until after a 1 p.m. hearing Thursday to decide the matter.

More serious charges were also filed against Kelley, 34, who had pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide, which carries a prison term of one to five years.

He was charged Thursday with involuntary manslaughter, endangering children and having a weapon under disability. Involuntary manslaughter is the most serious charge and carries a prison term of three to 11 years.

If convicted on all counts, Kelley could face up to 17 years in prison.

According to Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters, Shanti was having a slumber party with several friends Sunday when her mother, Kristina Lanza, began arguing with Kelley about him bringing a gun into the home. Lanza ordered Kelley out of the house, but he returned to the home drunk around 3 a.m., the prosecutor's office said.

The children, who were downstairs watching TV while Lanza slept upstairs, opened the door for Kelley, who walked in, turned and fired a gunshot out the front door, prosecutors say.

Shanti then ran upstairs for her mother, who came down and again ordered Kelley to leave. That's when he walked out and fired two shots into the air. One of them hit Shanti, who was hiding in an upstairs bedroom and later died at a hospital, prosecutors say.

Deters pointed out that Kelley had previously been charged three times with domestic violence, but that he was never prosecuted because Lanza refused to testify.

"This is the end of the road for this enabling," Deters said in a statement. "He needs to be in jail, and the rest of them (Shanti's family) should be looking in the mirror for the reason this little girl is dead."

Relatives have described Shanti as a happy, beautiful child who loved her father. She was a ballet dancer who enjoyed rapping with her father and was set attend the School for Creative and Performing Arts next year, they said.

By definition, charges of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter mean a death was accidental.

Kelley's "actions were reckless, but his intent was not to kill his daughter," Cincinnati police Sgt. Julian Johnson said. "If it was his intent, he'd be charged with aggravated murder."

Kelley's brother, Antwon Kelley, said outside the courtroom Monday that Deandre never would have shot the girl on purpose and that he was shaken up over her death. He described his brother as a family man and loving father of seven children who lost his teenage son a year ago in a still-unsolved shooting.

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Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

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