A Tennessee woman will spend 12 years in prison after leaving a stolen gun in a Cobb County hotel room and trying to cover up what happened when her 5-year-old nephew got it and shot a 3-year-old in the mouth.
Tashia Lenette Woods of Nashville pleaded guilty Thursday to leaving the loaded gun in a Comfort Inn and Suites room last year while on a family vacation to Six Flags over Georgia, Channel 2 Action News reported. After serving her prison sentence, she will spend eight years on probation.
“I’m just sorry. I feel remorse about what happened,” Woods said in court. “I take responsibility for everything that happened that day. And let everyone know I’m sorry.”
On May 28, she left a black semi-automatic Taurus .380 in an unsecured bag on the hotel floor, Cobb police previously told AJC.com. She had stolen the weapon from a gun store in Clarksville, Tenn., five months prior.
The 5-year-old found the gun and shot the woman’s boyfriend’s son in the mouth, causing him to lose teeth and have speech issues, according to his mother.
“He still wakes up in the middle of the night crying. My son is very strong,” assistant district attorney Lindsay Raynor said in court, reading a letter written by the child’s mother.
The victim’s father was outside the room smoking a cigarette while Woods was allegedly looking outside for marijuana she threw away on accident, Raynor said. The only other adult in the room was sleeping, leaving the two children and an 11-year-old unsupervised.
Raynor said Woods initially threw the gun in a trash can after the incident before changing her mind and hiding it in a makeshift compartment in her car, Channel 2 reported. She never called 911, and the child’s father drove the boy to the hospital.
Woods was charged with felony child cruelty, theft, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless conduct, and two counts of tampering with evidence, court records show.
In June 2010, she was convicted of selling cocaine in her hometown.
Her guilty plea Thursday was non-negotiated.
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