South Carolina Boys Ages 8 and 9 Will Face Involuntary Manslaughter Charges for Shooting Death of Farmer

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Authorities say they are aware that both boys fired their own respective firearms but are unclear on who fired the fatal bullet. 

An elderly South Carolina farmer was fatally shot in late June while driving his tractor and two young boys ages 8 and 9 are facing involuntary manslaughter for his death.

Danny Andrew Smith, 62, was found dead behind the wheel of his running tractor with a single gunshot wound to his back on June 23, according to reports. 

Smith's wife reported him missing to law enforcement when he didn't return home that evening. Police found him inside of the tractor, which had struck a tree at the bottom of an embankment on a family property.

Police recovered a .22 caliber which they say is the weapon that killed Smith. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will be examining the rifle.

Smith is survived by his wife of 38 years, two daughters, a sister, and five grandchildren, according to an obituary by Sandifer Funeral Home. He was retired from the US Engine Valve and was a volunteer fireman with the Cleveland Fire Department Station.

In a petition to charge the boys in South Carolina family court last Friday, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office requested to formally charge both boys with the manslaughter charge.

Authorities are aware that both boys fired their own respective firearms but are unclear on who fired the fatal bullet. 

“After a consultation with the Solicitor’s Office, and based on the evidence obtained in our ongoing investigation, we believe that both juvenile males discharged a firearm in a reckless manner in the direction of Mr. Smith who was bush hogging on some family property,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw.

“At this time, it is still undetermined which shot ultimately struck and killed Mr. Smith. However, based upon South Carolina law, the hand of one is the hand of all and that is why Family Court has been petitioned in regards to charging both juveniles with Involuntary Manslaughter.”

South Carolina law states that juveniles under the age of 10 cannot be detained and held in state custody. They are each in the care of their parents until court proceedings continue.

Police will not release any information on motive or firearm to protect the identities of the juveniles.

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