DES MOINES — Akeem Holmes’ attorney, the Des Moines resident has already punished himself to a greater extent than any judge could. Savannah, a 4-year-old, passed away in May 2022 from what authorities believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Holmes was Savannah’s father. She is thought to have found the gun and inadvertently shot herself since her father told detectives he had pulled his revolver out when two males were banging on his front door. He then set the gun down near a couch and left the room. He was charged in June with making weapons available to a juvenile, involuntary manslaughter, and negligence of a dependent person. He entered a guilty plea and on Thursday received a deferred judgment.
Holmes had cooperated with investigators from the outset, according to prosecutor Mike Salvner, who asked the court’s approval of the deferred judgment as part of a plea agreement. Without a doubt, this was a tragic incident that could have been avoided with better caution and preparation for how to handle a deadly weapon, according to Salvner. In every sense of the word, Mr. Holmes has accepted responsibility, including for his personal life.
In support of the sentence, which includes five years of probation for Holmes, defense counsel Jerry Foxhoven said that the fact that Holmes lost his daughter more than adequately illustrates the gravity of Holmes’ error. As any good father would, “He has struggled a good bit with depression as a result of this, as any good father would do,” Foxhoven added. ” I think we can be pretty certain that nothing like this can ever happen again.” In addition to probation, Farrell mandated Holmes pay $150,000 in compensation to the estate of his daughter, a punishment he claimed was required by state law.
Salvner stated that the request was made not as a punitive measure but rather to provide Holmes and his family with access to mental health resources and other supports through the state for as long as possible. Farrell then approved the five-year term of probation, the maximum permitted by law. Salvner stated, “I have no doubt Mr. Holmes will succeed on probation, and I have no doubt the deferred judgment will be purged at the conclusion of the probation. Holmes testified in court that he and his family are working through the trauma. He remarked, “The natural consequences of what has occurred is something that I and all of my loved ones are going to have to manage for the rest of our lives,” Farrell concluded the session by expressing his admiration for Holmes and wishing him luck in the future.
He said to Holmes, “I wish healing on you and your family members,” “I hope you’re able to do all the things you’ve said you want to do, and I hope you’re able to do all the things I think you’re capable of.” After the hearing, Foxhoven said that Holmes had placed his daughter in a highchair prior to the shooting and hadn’t realized that she could climb out on her own and access the weapon. This is a lovely family who had a terrible tragedy, and I believe the lesson from this is that everybody who owns a firearm has a genuine responsibility to prepare for even things you might not have thought imaginable.
According to the gun control organization Everytown Research, Savannah Holmes is at least the eleventh Iowa kid to die from unintentional shooting since 2015. Similar charges have been brought against Des Moines resident Adam Mead in connection with at least one other child murder. In 2014, his 4-year-old daughter Lillium grabbed up his revolver and shot herself to death. According to court records, Mead received a suspended sentence and successfully completed probation in 2016.
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