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Va. babysitter found guilty after 4-year-old fatally shoots himself

Posted at 12:47 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 12:47:53-05

ORANGE COUNTY, Va. -- An Orange County couple returned to court in connection to the death of a child killed inside their home on May 15, 2017. The child, Cole James Clark, was one of several children at a babysitter's home on Cecelia Lane in Orange when he somehow obtained a gun and shot himself.

Deputies, investigators and rescue personnel arrived on scene and attempted life-saving measures without success and the child was pronounced dead at the scene.

Heather Massey, 27, and Nicholas J. Stoia, 25, were charged with multiple counts of child abuse/neglect and reckless handling/leave loaded firearm endangering child under the age of 14.  Stoia, who was not home at the time, was a Stafford County Sheriff’s Office recruit, according to officials. The gun involved in the incident was not a service weapon, investigators added.

Massey pleaded guilty to felony cruelty and injury to a child, and Stoia pleaded guilty to the amended charge of misdemeanor reckless handling of a firearm.  All other charges nolle prossed, according to Orange County Circuit court documents.

Both Massey and Stoia will be sentenced on April 19