Milwaukee 11-year-old headed to trial for killing mom over VR headset

Posted at 10:47 PM, September 6, 2023 and last updated 6:46 PM, September 8, 2023

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (Scripps News Milwaukee) — At the same time most Milwaukee Public Schools were letting students out for one of their first days of school, a local 11-year-old was practicing his coloring inside a courtroom.

The boy, who Scripps News Milwaukee is not naming due to a judge’s order to protect his identity, was in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing in the homicide of his mother. In November, Quiana Mann died in her basement after police allege the then-10-year-old boy shot her for waking him up early and not buying him a virtual reality headset.

Milwaukee Police Detective Timothy Keller testified Tuesday afternoon about what happened when he interviewed the boy. He said the boy’s story changed several times, from believing he was handling a confetti gun to saying the gun accidentally went off. Initially, the detective admitted, he believed the shooting was an accident and allowed the boy to be released into his family’s care.

milwaukee boy charged with mom's murder

A Milwaukee boy accused of fatally shooting his mother in November 2022 colors during a court hearing in his case held Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. The 11-year-old is being tried as an adult. (Scripps News Milwaukee)

“I wanted to believe something like that was the truth and it wouldn’t come to this,” Keller said. “Looking back at it, I may have overlooked other red flags that may have come up.”

Ultimately, the boy was taken into custody and Keller questioned him further. At that time, the detective said, the boy admitted to aiming the gun at his mom and intending to fire the gun near her to scare her.

However, Keller said the boy’s statement didn’t make sense when he described how he was aiming.

“He indicated he had closed one of his eyes and believed he closed the wrong eye,” Keller said. “You have a different perception, depending on which eye is opened or closed with shooting. The reason (his statement) was not consistent with what happened is because, while that is accurate for something far away, if I take the distance of intermediate, that’s less of a margin of error. My target is so much closer, it doesn’t move as much. Which would mean if sights are pointed at her head, and the only difference is which eye is open, it’s not going to make a difference of missing and striking her.”

Autopsy reports showed Mann was hit in her right eye.

Ultimately, the court decided to bind the boy over for trial. Because he is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, the 11-year-old is being charged as an adult. While that is in accordance with Wisconsin law, a court can grant a reverse waiver that would allow the child to go through the juvenile justice system instead.

“The stakes are very large,” attorney Jonathan LaVoy said.

Though LaVoy is not connected to the case, he explained to Scripps News Milwaukee that there are three things that need to be proven in order for the boy to be waived into the juvenile court system. According to Wisconsin Statute 970.032, “the court shall retain jurisdiction unless the juvenile proves by a preponderance of the evidence all of the following:

(a) That, if convicted, the juvenile could not receive adequate treatment in the criminal justice system;

(b) That transferring jurisdiction to the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938 would not depreciate the seriousness of the offense; and

This story was originally published by Scripps News Milwaukee, an E.W. Scripps Company.