DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – A Darlington County man could spend up to approximately four and a half years in prison after he pled guilty in the accidental shooting death of a 5-year-old boy.
Rodney Pittman appeared in court Thursday morning and pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and unlawful neglect of a child in the death of his girlfriend’s son in Hartsville on September 15, 2017.
Deputy Solicitor Kenard Redmond said the shooting was determined to be accidental. According to investigators, Pittman was getting a gun from a cabinet in the kitchen, and the gun fired. The bullet went through a wall and hit the little boy, investigators said. Warrants in the case claimed Pittman was impaired at the time – in the early morning hours of Sept. 15.
Additionally, warrants also said Pittman had a previous conviction for pointing and presenting a firearm in 2016. Redmond said Pittman was on probation for that conviction, and he was not supposed to have a gun in his possession.
The judge sentenced Pittman to five years incarceration for the involuntary manslaughter charge and five years for the unlawful neglect charge. He ordered the sentences to run concurrently, and he also gave Pittman credit for 189 days of time served. The result of that sentencing means Pittman could be in prison for about four and a half months. However, he could also serve less time.
The judge also ordered Pittman to undergo mental health counseling due to Pittman being on suicide watch during his 189 days of incarceration. The judge also ordered that Pittman be evaluated by the state’s Department of Corrections for alcohol and drug counseling, according to Redmond.
Redmond said during the court hearing in Darlington, the boy’s father spoke and asked the judge for leniency in the sentencing. Nonetheless, the judge handed down the maximum sentence of five years for the manslaughter charge. Again, that sentence will run at the same time as the other sentence, and Pittman received credit for 189 days already served.
The boy’s mother Beth Sherlock still faces charges in the case for having at least one gun in the home while Pittman was living there.