The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 7, 2012

Judge sends teen in dare-game death to rehab

BEDFORD — A Bedford County judge found Friday that the actions of a 15-year-old boy reached the level of involuntary manslaughter in the accidental killing of his friend during a game of Russian roulette.

Judge Thomas Ling ordered Cole McConoughey to spend three months at Adelphoi Village in Connellsville, Fayette County, as part of his rehabilitation for the July 20 shooting death of Neal Hammond, also 15, from the Everett area.

Police said McConoughey was in his West Providence Township home with Hammond and another youth who had brought a .38-caliber revolver to the McConoughey home.

The three were playing the dare game when McConoughey pulled the trigger. The gun discharged and a bullet struck Hammond.

Hammond later died at Memorial Medical Center in Johns­town.

The case of the youth who brought the gun to the McConoughey home

will be considered Jan. 4, Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said.

McConoughey’s adjudication as a delinquent follows a late September order sending him for long-term evaluation.

McConoughey initially was charged as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime, but in September a judge agreed to transfer his case to the juvenile system.

Following the 60-day evaluation, the recommendation from Adelphoi was that McConoughey was doing well and should be released from treatment.

Higgins opposed that option.

“I just felt because of the seriousness of what happened, to release him would be taking the death of the other boy too lightly,” Higgins said.

“The Hammond family won’t have their son this holiday season. He will never be with his family again,” Higgins  said.

McConoughey is next scheduled to appear in juvenile court March 8.

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