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Trial begins for man accused of selling gun to teen

A Clark County man is being held responsible for causing the death of a 17-year-old he allegedly sold a gun to just before that teen accidentally shot himself.

The trial for Brian Hill, 26 of Springfield, began Monday in Clark County Common Pleas Court. He’s charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and improperly furnishing a firearm to a minor. The charges stem from a July incident when he allegedly sold Dustin Wade, a culinary student at the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, a small pistol out of his Florence Street home.

During testimony, friend and witness Timothy Henery said he was driving Wade to his house when the teen began fiddling with his new gun.

“He had the clip out. He put it in, dry-shot it the first time and we (were) almost up the hill and he dry shot it again and that’s when it went off,” Henery said.

Wade didn’t speak, but lifted up his shirt to reveal a black spot on his chest where he’d been shot. He then collapsed across Henery’s lap, he said. He drove Wade to the emergency room at Springfield Regional Medical Center where he died from his injury.

Henery said when he went to move his car, which he parked in front of the entrance, a neighbor who was also there at the ER, Taylor Thompson, offered to move it. While doing so, Thompson testified he saw the gun sitting on the floor on the passenger side. He said he listened to the growing crowd of hospital-goers gathering outside who allegedly told him to hide the weapon. He said he used a towel to pick it up and placed it in some brush across the street at the Rite Aid. He later told Springfield police he put it there. Officers recovered the weapon and traced it back to Hill.

Defense attorney James Griffin asked Thompson why he moved the weapon, and Thompson said he was scared and caught up in the moment of the hectic scene.

“I basically watched a kid take his last breath right there in front of me,” he said. “You don’t see that every day.”

Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Kinsler said Hill is being held responsible for Wade’s death since he furnished the firearm that accidentally killed him. Wade shot himself only 15 minutes after leaving Hill’s home, Kinsler said.

Griffin did not give an opening statement, and said he plans to do so when the defense presents its case later in the trial. He said it’s his intention to prove his client is not at fault for Wade’s death.

Hill is being held in the Clark County Jail on $25,000 bond.

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