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Parents enter guilty plea to firearms charge

March 07, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

The parents of a 6-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 8-year-old brother last year pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court Wednesday to allowing their children access to firearms.

Patricia Mae Yost, 26, and Alan Frederick Yost, 27, both of 12072 National Pike, faced the misdemeanor charge as a result of the Nov. 29, 2001, death of their daughter.

Cassey Yost died when a shotgun held by her brother, Austin, discharged, striking her in the head at the family's home, Maryland State Police said.

Washington County District Judge R. Noel Spence accepted the couple's guilty plea to the firearms charge. In exchange for their plea, a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the certain condition of a child was dropped.

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Spence postponed sentencing until May 9 to allow time for completion of a pre-sentencing report.

A conviction on a charge of allowing a minor access to firearms carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine.

The Yosts said nothing during their court appearance Wednesday. They were represented by Hagerstown attorney Lewis Metzner.

Patricia Yost bowed her head when Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Mark Thomas read the police account of what happened in the Yost's Clear Spring home Nov. 29.

Thomas said guns and ammunition were found lying around throughout the home.

On the night of the shooting, Cassey, Austin and a younger brother, Ajay, 2, were playing in an upstairs bedroom and their parents were downstairs, according to the account.

The boy thought he saw something out the window so he loaded a single-shot shotgun and a rifle, police said.

After a few minutes, the boy unloaded the rifle, police said. He said he laid the shotgun on the bed and told his sister to unload it, police said.

The boy, thinking his sister had unloaded the shotgun, picked up the weapon and it went off, police said.

Police said in January that when they went to the house, they found a loaded 9 mm handgun on the nightstand in the oldest child's bedroom and rifles on the kitchen floor and leaning against a wall in the living room.

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