Little Rock teen sentenced to 5 years in prison for shooting younger sister

LR youth, 17, gets 5 years after injuring 12-year-old sister

A Little Rock teenager who told police a home intruder shot his 12-year-old sister in the head has accepted a five-year prison sentence for wounding the girl himself.

Devon Lamar Whitney, who turns 18 on Aug. 1, has pleaded guilty to second-degree domestic battering, reduced from first-degree domestic battering; filing a false police report; and tampering with evidence in exchange for the five-year sentence imposed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge LaTonya Honorable, sentencing papers filed on Friday show. He faced up to 22 years on the three felony counts.

Under the conditions of his plea agreement, negotiated by deputy prosecutor Victoria Wadley and Public Defender Mac Carder, Whitney will serve a five-year suspended sentence once he's released from prison.

According to police reports, officers called by the girl's mother, 38-year-old Leah Whitney, found the wounded child at the family home at 4608 Grand Ave. on Nov. 4 a little bit after 9:30 p.m. Whitney, who was in Conway, called officers for help after receiving a call through Facebook Messenger from Devon Whitney that the girl had been shot during a home invasion.

The girl was seriously injured from wounds to her forehead and right arm, with Detective Paul Evans describing the arm wound as likely a defense injury, caused when she held her arm up to shield herself and the bullet traveled through her forearm from her wrist then into her head.

Devon Whitney told investigators that someone had broken into the residence and shot the girl, but the pair's 4-year-old sister said something about Devon Whitney shooting the girl.

Taken into custody, Whitney admitted that he had shot the 12-year-old with a gun he'd bought for $300 off the street for self-protection. He told police he'd thrown the weapon in the backyard but the gun was never found. Investigators also could not find a shell casing.

Whitney said he did not intentionally shoot the girl but that he was playing with the gun when the weapon went off accidentally. He said he could not call the police himself because his phone was not working so he contacted his mother through Facebook Messenger's call feature. Whitney has been jailed ever since his arrest.

Investigators noted that ShotSpotter had activated for a gunshot at the Grand Avenue house about two hours before Whitney contacted his mother. It was the only notification that night from the gunshot-detection program, according to the report. Police don't know what happened between the notification and when Whitney contacted his mother, according to police reports.