By Dr. Ray Kessler, who is, incidentally, a retired Prof. of Criminal Justice, former defense attorney and prosecutor is your host. I am also a part-time instructor in Criminal Justice at Richland College, an outstanding, 2-year institution in Dallas, TX.
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Tuesday, January 31, 2017
COP'S YOUNG DAUGHTER TRAGICALLY KILLED IN ACCIDENT WITH HIS PERSONAL REVOLVER
“A Stratford police
officer has been suspended without pay for leaving a loaded and unsecured .357
revolver in reach of his 8-year-old daughter, who was fatally shot New Year’s
Eve at the family’s home, authorities said Friday.
Kenneth Righter, 46,
has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and a
disorderly-persons offense called “storage of firearms if minors may have
access.” The gun, a personal weapon of Righter’s, was left on a shelf and was
accessible to three children, including Sailor Lane Righter, who died, and her
brothers, 14 and 17, authorities said.
“The Camden County [NJ]
Prosecutor’s Office, which is leading the investigation, did not say whether
Sailor or another family member fired the gun, but has said that only family
members were home at the time. Kenneth Righter, who is paid $87,000 a year as a
Stratford officer, was not home at the time of the shooting.
Righter's attorney, Dennis Wixted, said Friday the charges have added
to the family's stress and sadness over Sailor's loss.
Righter family is devastated," Wixted said. He declined to comment on
details of the case.
A 911 call from the
Righter family's house on Union Avenue came around 1:50 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
"We need help now," one of Sailor's siblings told a
dispatcher, according to a recording of the call provided by county officials.
The sibling did not give the dispatcher his name.
"My mom just went
upstairs and found her, and she told me to call 911," he said. "She's
He then told the
dispatcher the family was headed to the hospital.
Sailor was pronounced
dead at Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford at 2:15 p.m., authorities
said. Her mother brought her there.
Kenneth Righter became
a Stratford police officer in 2004, according to the state Attorney General's
Office. He passed firearms training several times in recent years, including
last year, when he scored 100 percent with his personal revolver, according to
qualification forms obtained through a public records request. That is the same
weapon that authorities said killed Sailor.
department has guidelines on keeping a weapon at home.”
“Each full-time member of this police department shall be issued a
secure gun-locking device, which without exception shall be utilized each day,”
the guidelines state, adding, “Officers are encouraged to purchase a safe to further
The department has 16
officers, including supervisors, according to its website.
Police Chief Ronald
Morello said in a statement Friday that it is general policy to suspend any
employees charged with an indictable crime. He said he could not comment on the
investigation by the Prosecutor's Office. "