Aaron Conkleton (Source: Bowie County Sheriff's Office)
Aaron Conkleton sentencing
Shooting victim Semaj Williams
NEW BOSTON, TX (KSLA) -
Investigators say an Ark-La-Tex teenager and some of his friends found a gun in a truck they were detailing. That's when the gun accidentally went off. Semaj Williams was fatally shot in the head. Today came the final chapter in this sad story.
It's now been 14-months since a detailing job turned into a real-life nightmare, ending in death. On this Friday, October 10, 18-year old Aaron Conkleton, the teenager who was charged with negligent homicide, learned his sentence. It's a story you'll only see on KSLA news 12.
"It is amazing how dangerous a gun can be in the hands of someone who do(es) not know how to use it," said District Judge Leon Pesek, Jr., as he delivered the sentence Friday morning to Aaron Conkleton. The judge then announced Conkleton would serve five years probation in the shooting death of Semaj Williams.
Judge Pesek explained, "We have a situation that a young man is not with us anymore, a friend of yours at all account." KSLA News 12 first reported on this case back in August of 2013. Conkleton was handling a hand gun at a New Boston, Texas car wash when it accidentally discharged fatally wounding Semaj Williams.
Police would later tell us that Conkleton found the gun inside a truck he was cleaning for a former New Boston School Board Member. Conkleton pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide. His attorney Shorty Barrett told us, "It was never Aaron's intentions to cause that death."
Barrett also said of Conkleton, "He is very remorseful and he ask for forgiveness from the family of Semaj Williams and he feels remorseful and regretful." Barrett said his client was approached with the plea deal by the Bowie County District Attorney's office. Williams family members were on hand at the hearing but decided not to give a victim's impact statement.
Although the criminal case is over, Semaj Williams' family has filed a civil suit against Conkleton and Chad Duffer, the owner of the gun that was used, and the truck Conkleton was cleaning at the time of the shooting.