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A 15-year-old Boston boy who fatally shot his 9-year-old brother has been ordered to remain in state custody until he is 21 after admitting to a manslaughter charge on Wednesday.
Juanly Pena, who was 14 when he accidentally shot Janmarcos Pena in the family's apartment in February, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm as a youthful offender in juvenile court.
He was sentenced to three years in prison upon turning 21, but the entire sentence was suspended as long as he stays out of further legal trouble and abides by certain conditions, including getting a high school diploma or a job and undergoes mental health counseling. If he violates those conditions, the judge said he must serve the prison term in its entirety.
"He's a 15-year-old young man who made a terrible, terrible mistake," Pena's attorney, Michael Doolin said.
Prosecutors acknowledged that the shooting was an accident.
Pena acquired the gun to protect himself from gang members in the neighborhood and thought it was unloaded when he pointed it at his brother's heart and pulled the trigger, prosecutor Ian Polumbaum said.
Pena was on a "bad spiral" at the time, having stopped going to school after getting in trouble with the law, Polumbaum said.
After the shooting, Juanly Pena started to call 911 but instead told his sister to call. He then left the house with the gun but was stopped nearby by police, still carrying the weapon, authorities said.
Pena has never been honest with authorities about how he got the gun, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office said.
The boy had the support of his mother and older sister, Doolin said.