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Logansport teen pleads guilty in February shooting death

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

The young Logansport woman accused of shooting and killing a friend while playing with a gun earlier this year has pleaded guilty to charges against her.

Brayden Berkshire, 19, pleaded guilty to a single count of reckless homicide and one count of obstruction of justice when she appeared before Miami County Superior Court Judge Daniel Banina on Thursday, court records show.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Berkshire in early February, just days after responding to a home in the 3100 block of Mexico Road and finding 18-year-old Nathaniel Hopper dead of a gunshot wound to the head with a handgun in his right hand.

A probable cause affidavit in the case says that Berkshire and another person were in the home when authorities arrived and that Berkshire, then 18, had a wound on her left hand.

“Ms. Berkshire reported Nathaniel picked a gun off the floor, ejecting the magazine, placing it to his head and pulling the trigger causing the weapon to fire,” the affidavit says. “She stated it was an accident.”

Berkshire, according to the affidavit, told deputies the next day that she had been drinking and smoking marijuana before Hopper was shot and that they had been playing with the gun.

“She admitted to holding the gun, pointing it at the victim’s head and pulling the trigger,” the document says. “She stated she believed the weapon was unloaded.”

Authorities believe that the bullet fired from the gun passed through Hopper and then caused the wound on Berkshire’s left hand.

The affidavit says that during that Feb. 4 interview, Berkshire admitted to placing the gun in Hopper’s right hand and a magazine to the gun in his left hand, “in an attempt to mislead investigating officers causing it to appear as if he shot himself.”

Berkshire’s guilty pleas to the Level 5 (reckless homicide) and Level 6 (obstruction) felonies come as part of a plea agreement that carries only a single stipulation that whatever sentences she receives for the two charges will run concurrently.

Banina scheduled sentencing for Nov. 19.