MT. PLEASANT (KDKA) — A Mt. Pleasant teen who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his friend has been sentenced.
John Burnsworth, now 15, will spend at least three months in the Appalachian Youth Services in Cambria County, where he will receive mental health and other counseling services.
“Because of the nature of the offense, he’ll likely be under supervision until he’s 21,” said defense attorney Richard McCague. “The child hopefully can be made whole and become a contributing member of society.”
Burnsworth entered a plea in December of 2016 in the shooting death of 13-year-old James Robert Gustafson, of Mt. Pleasant. Initially charged with felony homicide, Burnsworth ultimately pleaded guilty to misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter and a misdemeanor firearms charge.
Claiming he thought the gun was unloaded, Burnsworth was accused of shooting Gustafson at point blank range on March 20, 2016.
The gun was unregistered and unsecured. The firearm’s owner — 31-year-old Joshua Hudec — faces trial for those other charges. Brook Nelson, 18, who was home at the time of the killing, faces similar charges.
‘After the sentencing, Gustafson’s parents spoke to the media.
“Of course, it’s not what we wanted, we would have liked to see jail time,” said Mark Gustafson. “He has mental problems, he needs help. It’s never gonna bring my son back. But the kid needs help.”
The victim’s parents say Burnsworth has never shown remorse for what happened.
“John has had a ton of opportunity to apologize, and never apologized to us once.”