Local News

Family: Durham mom doesn't deserve charges in son's accidental death

Posted July 10, 2014

— A Durham woman's family said Thursday that she doesn't deserve to be charged in connection with the accidental shooting death of her 9-year-old son

Amy Suzanne Pittman, 36, was arrested Wednesday on manslaughter and 10 other charges in the April 28 death of Christian Patterson, who authorities say was shot by his 12-year-old brother while they played with a gun at their home on Macon Street.

After a court appearance Thursday on an unrelated traffic charge, her oldest son, Deeshawn Magwood, 19, said the gun belonged to Pittman's ex-boyfriend and that she did not know it was in the home.

He said his younger brothers found it behind the refrigerator.

"I feel like it's a mistake, because one thing about it, she's never harmed us, never put us in harm's way," Magwood said. "She's always broke her back for us."

Pittman, who family members also say wasn't home at the time, also faces three counts each of felony gross negligence child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of failure to store firearms to protect minors.

Pittman was in the Durham County jail Thursday under a $151,000 bond and is expected to appear in Superior Court on Monday.

"We're here for my mama," Magwood said. "We're going to fight it to the end."


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  • threeangelsmom Jul 14, 2014

    Yes that is all this was an observation not a judgement. I will say that it was difficult for me to watch her have no emotion at the loss of her child, and when I look at her Facebook post, you would never know that Christian was just killed, looks like she has moved on rather quickly.

    Sad situation for the entire biological family and the church family that has done so much for her children over the years.

  • Edward Levy Jul 11, 2014
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    this is a difficult one to commnet on

  • Larry Wiandt Jul 11, 2014
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    "This is exactly why all firearms sold in North Carolina are required to include a gun lock. I just hope this case isn't being used by the DA to appease the anti-gun lobby"

    Umm they are sold with locks...

  • Larry Wiandt Jul 11, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    No the fault lies in the mother not teaching her children that guns are dangerous and need to be handled properly. When I was a small boy, younger than 12, I spent a lot of time roaming the woods and fields with my .22 rifle. I knew not to shoot people with it thanks to my parents.

  • tbg0519 Jul 11, 2014

    Questions that I would have liked to have answered are: Who is the gun registered to? Other than the child, whose prints are on the gun? Even if they can't find any other prints on the gun, surely there would be some on the magazine when it was loaded. If the DA can even prove the mother was aware of the gun, then yes, throw the book at her. Here's some food for thought though. What if it is the ex-boyfriend's, or the 19 year old son's? It is a tragedy that she lost a son, and an even greater tragedy that the one brother will have to live with knowing he killed his little brother.

    This is exactly why all firearms sold in North Carolina are required to include a gun lock. I just hope this case isn't being used by the DA to appease the anti-gun lobby.

  • Mike Watson Jul 11, 2014
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    I guess many of you have never sinned in your life because you seem to be casting a lot of stones at this woman. Basically your opinions mean squat, what matters is whether or not the DA actually can PROVE that this woman knew the gun was in the house or not. she doesn't have to prove she didn't know, they have to prove she did, it's an innocent until proven guilty kind of thing.

  • heard-it-all-before Jul 11, 2014

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    i was looking for the quote to say the same thing. you beat me to it. typical judgmental hypocrisy

  • Salatheal Hasty Jul 11, 2014
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    There are different stages of grief...Just because she wasn't falling all over the floor crying doesn't mean that wasn't grieving her child...Because a person doesn't act like we expect them to doesn't mean the pain isn't there...I work in the funeral profession I see people grieve their loved ones in alot of ways...I know of a girl who doesn't sleep at night since her mom passed but you could never tell by her actions on a daily basis...

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 11, 2014

    First of all, 12 year olds should be able to be left alone. Some 12 year olds babysit. That's not negligent. Secondly, whether she cries too little, or not at all is irrelevant. Looking at her Facebook, she won't win any mom of the year awards. I too don't think she's grieving like a normal mom, although I know it differs from person to person. But being a lousy mom, or a piece of street trash, isn't criminal.

    The bottom line is if she KNEW the loaded gun was there. That's it. Doesn't matter if the kids were alone (given the ages) or it's her house, etc. Doesn't even matter if the gun belonged to her, the ex, or the older brother. Did she know the loaded gun was there? If so, she's committed a crime. If not, no charges on her.

  • Barbara Horton Jul 11, 2014
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    I think this mother has suffered enough. She probably didn't know the gun was there. I don't know of anyone who would store a gun behind a refrigerator to start with. secondly, there is no minimum age in NC to leave your children alone assuming the age is reasonable as is the time of day and the length of time. At 12 I was baby sitting other people's children. I am not sure of the time of day or length of time these children were left alone, or how young the other two were but that could be a factor in her charges. Hopefully she will get out of jail so she can be there for her other kids.
    If we are responsible for our children until they are 18 (and we are, by law) how about locking up some of these parents whose 13, 14, 15 and 16 year olds are out killing people on purpose? Those teens and parents should both be locked up!