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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Light sentence for dad in son's accidental death

  • A Minneapolis father whose 4-year-old son found his loaded handgun and accidentally killed his 2-year-old brother with it drew a light sentence Thursday when the judge said the man had finally accepted responsibility for his son's death.
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  • A Minneapolis father whose 4-year-old son found his loaded handgun and accidentally killed his 2-year-old brother with it drew a light sentence Thursday when the judge said the man had finally accepted responsibility for his son's death.
    Kao Xiong was sentenced to 10 years' probation, plus 30 days in jail. But with credit for time already served, Xiong was released Thursday.
    The Star Tribune reported a key part of Xiong's sentence is 100 hours of community service educating the Hmong community about the dangers of firearms and making sure they are stored properly.
    State sentencing guidelines and prosecutors had called for four years in prison.
    Xiong was convicted in May of manslaughter and child endangerment for leaving the gun tucked between the mattress and headboard of his bed where his children were playing unattended. Two-year-old Neegnco Xiong was shot in the chest and died while playing with his older brother last December.
    Moments before Hennepin County Judge Daniel Moreno pronounced the sentence, Xiong stood up, took a deep breath and said, "Your honor, it's my fault," before he apologized to his wife, his family and his late son.
    "I have no doubt that you're sorry," Moreno told Xiong. "What I had my doubts about is your ability to understand and appreciate the gravity of the danger you placed your children in. Unfortunately for you, it took a long, grueling, graphic, tragic trial for you to understand this. I believe finally, you have accepted responsibility."
    County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors were satisfied with the light sentence once Xiong finally took responsibility for Neegnco's death.
    "It would be fundamentally unfair for that 4-year-old to go through life thinking it was his responsibility, because it wasn't," Freeman said as he fought back tears. "It was Mr. Xiong's."

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