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Votes

What Happened?

Matthew James Lathram's file also contained a court document, "Proffer of the Commonwealth's Evidence," which details the events before and after the shooting on March 22, 2004. The document was altered so the names of the juveniles who were with Lathram and Shomaker were eliminated.

Here is the account of the events as outlined in the "Proffer of the Commonwealth's Evidence:"

Shomaker and Juvenile #1 went to Shomaker's house after school, where they smoked marijuana and played video games. Lathram and Juvenile #2 arrived and the trio decided to go to the home of Juvenile #3. Instead, they drove to Juvenile #4's home. Lathram went to the trunk of the car, retrieved a Glock 9mm handgun, removed the clip and placed the gun under his shirt.

Lathram spoke with Juvenile #4, then walked to the house of Juvenile #3, who was not home. Someone in the car asked Lathram why he took the gun. He said he "just wanted to talk to him." Lathram, Shomaker and Juveniles #1 and #2 had beat up juvenile #3 the week before.

From there, they went to Lathram's home basement "to hang out." They looked at, handled, cocked and dry fired the gun while they smoked marijuana.

Lathram sold 2 ounces of marijuana to Juvenile #2, and then went upstairs to eat dinner with his grandparents. Juvenile #2 went home and Shomaker and Juvenile #1 sat on the porch until Lathram finished eating.

After dinner, they joined Lathram in the basement. "The firearm was resting on the pool table, this time with the clip in the gun." The three began handling the gun, posing and posturing with it again. Lathram was "mimicking" how he had the gun under his shirt at the Juvenile #3's house. As Juvenile #1 walked over to the bathroom, he heard a loud "pop." When he turned, he saw Shomaker clutching his chest. He called 911. The grandparents heard the sound and rushed downstairs.

Lathram "fled."

Mrs. Loy said he went upstairs to wait for the police, when she heard the trunk of her car close. She saw Lathram leave the garage and go back into the basement. She later showed authorities a pistol and a "sawed off shotgun" in the trunk.

When Deputy Sheriff Jaime Sanford arrived, Lathram said that his friend had been shot and she needed to hurry. He said he did not know who shot the boy or the location of the gun.

Sanford smelled the marijuana when she entered the basement and saw Nick on the floor. He had no pulse, and she began CPR.

Afterward, Lathram told law enforcement officials he had had thrown the gun used in the shooting into the bushes "because he was scared and didn't know what to do." The gun was found.

Deputy Sheriff Chris Staub noticed a gunshot hole in Lathram's shirt. "Lathram's shirt was subsequently collected."

Lathram told police he had the gun under his shirt and didn't know it was pointed at Shomaker. Lathram said he didn't know the gun went off until he heard Shomaker say that he had been shot and, "Now I'm gonna die."

Later Lathram told police he had called 911, tried to administer CPR and placed a pillow under his head, but none of those statements were true.

Alex Levay, Lathram's attorney, wrote at the end of the proffer that the use of the word "fled" to describe his client's exit from the basement was more of a characterization than a fact.