Colorado Springs mom gets four years probation for not securing gun son used to shoot the other
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A Colorado Springs woman who admitted that she didn't secure a loaded pistol that her 3-year-old son used to shoot his 2-year-old brother has learned her sentence.

Monica Abeyta, 31, will serve four years on supervised probation as a result of a plea bargain accepted by a judge Monday in 4th Judicial District Court.

Under terms of a deferred sentence, backed by prosecutors, all charges against her will be dismissed if she stays out of trouble and keeps up with other requirements while on probation, including an agreement not to use illegal drugs.

The deal was heard in court amid news that her injured son, still 2, has largely recovered after a surgery that removed up to 20 percent of his small intestine. The boy has a slight limp for which he is receiving physical therapy.

"His big brother helps a lot, too," said Joseph Rankins, who shares custody of the children. "They're getting bigger, better and stronger every day."

Colorado Springs police were called to the woman's home in early June after the older toddler found Abeyta's pistol in a backpack and accidentally shot his brother in the back, police said in an arrest affidavit. At the time, Abeyta was showering or preparing to shower. She said she normally kept the weapon in a lockbox but had removed it and placed it in her bag the night before after hearing a noise.

Authorities said Abeyta admitted she had used marijuana the previous night and had a history of methamphetamine use. Since her arrest, she has passed her drug tests and has nearly completed a drug treatment course, her attorney said. She told the court she also has found a job and purchased a home.

The plea deal comes days after Abeyta reclaimed part-time custody of the boys under an arrangement with Rankins.

Prosecutor Oliver Robinson said in court that he backed the deferred sentence partly because Abetya was quick to take accountability.

In October, she pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse, one a felony and one a misdemeanor, and admitted her negligence as part of a dependency and neglect case opened by child welfare workers in the wake of the shooting.

Her felony charge normally carries a penalty of up to six years in prison.

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I cover legal affairs for The Gazette, with an emphasis on the criminal courts. Tips to lance.benzel@gazette.com

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