Lt. Tommie Graham, 57, is charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment; his wife, Deborah Louise Graham and their daughters, Jennifer Haylee Graham, 23, and Elizabeth Hayden Graham, 25, (the child’s aunt) are all charged with one count of reckless endangerment regarding the death of Jennifer’s daughter, Kydalynn Robinson.
The four turned themselves in at the Bradley County Jail late Thursday afternoon. All were released on their own recognizance after being booked, according to reports.
“This is tragedy upon tragedy,” the family’s attorney, James Logan, said today in a prepared statement.
According to the investigation headed by Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, Kydalynn and her 2-year-old cousin were in the family’s home located in Benwood.
“The mother was in another area of the house and the two children were in the room where the shooting occurred,” Sheriff Jim Ruth said after the initial investigation began.
Jennifer Graham called 911 and stated her daughter had been shot in the face, the investigation revealed, according to reports.
Bob Gault, BCSO media relations coordinator, said investigators believed the gunshot was self-inflicted accidentally.
Bradley County detectives revealed Kydalynn and her 2-year-old cousin were in a bedroom at the home when she apparently picked up the .45-caliber handgun and accidentally discharged it, striking herself near her left eye, according to reports.
“This is one of the most difficult matters any person could face,” Logan said today. “Tommie Graham is one of the most decent men whom I have ever known.”
Logan added, “He and this family will conduct themselves appropriately as they are forced to live in detail, the loss of a child whom they loved more than their own lives.”
THP Col. Tracy Trott confirmed Graham has been placed on discretionary leave.
In a statement, Trott explained, “While the incident in question is not related in any way to his duties as a trooper, Lt. Tommie Graham has been placed on discretionary leave. No decision has been reached regarding the length of the discretionary leave or any internal disciplinary action. We have faith in the justice system and continue to keep Lt. Graham and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
In the indictment against Graham, a Grand Jury document cited the longtime trooper, “... fail[ed] to secure a loaded pistol knowing that minor children frequented the room which resulted in death to Kydalynn Jade Louise Robinson ...”
An arraignment date is set for Oct. 1.