Teen in jail for 'accidental' manslaughter charge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Teen in jail for 'accidental' manslaughter charge

PORTLAND, OR (KGW/CNN) - Authorities are saying Cody Ward, 18, shot and killed another teenager in his home Saturday night, and he says it was an accident.

Investigators said Ward was messing around with his dad's shotgun when it went off, killing Trenton Lester, 15, and also shooting a 14-year-old girl that is said to be OK.

"The suspect himself is the only one who knows what he was thinking when the trigger was pulled," said Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh.

Police originally arrested Ward with criminally negligent homicide, but prosecutors upgraded those charges to manslaughter, but didn't explain why.

"You know an accident is something considered by most people to be unavoidable," Ashbaugh said. "Certainly this was avoidable."

Ward's criminal history includes an arrest in June at a Safeway store for theft.

"My best friend I've known forever is in jail, because of some accident with a shotgun," Gabe Andrus said.

The victim's family is heartbroken. Trenton was the oldest of five children.

"TJ was always helpful, respectful, very artistic," Lester's grandfather said.

"His compassions were really for other people and his friends, and just really connected to his friends," his aunt said.

Ward is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Prosecutors expect to take the case to the grand jury within the next week.

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