Couple could face felony murder charges in death of 6-month-old

Couple could face felony murder charges in shooting death of 6-month-old

Posted:
A handcuffed Angela Major listens to court proceedings. A handcuffed Angela Major listens to court proceedings.
Ken Mason watches as his attorney argues for a lower bond. Ken Mason watches as his attorney argues for a lower bond.
Six-month-old Kelsey (Source: Facebook) Six-month-old Kelsey (Source: Facebook)

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knox County couple arrested in the shooting death of a six-month-old girl last month could face felony charges, according to prosecutors.

Assistant District Attorney General Kevin Allen told a judge Monday his office may pursue felony murder charges as a result of child neglect.

Angela Major and Ken Mason are both charged with reckless homicide after Knox County Sheriff's deputies said their six-month-old daughter, Kelsey Major, was shot and killed following a struggle over a handgun inside their Alcoa Highway home.

"This incident involves the death of a six-month-old child," Allen said. "There's a consideration, at least in my office, of potentially first-degree murder in this case."

6 News Legal Analyst Greg Isaacs said if the prosecution does pursue felony murder charges, it will be a more difficult case for the defense.

"All the prosecution has to prove is you had a gun, you were acting in a way that was abusive or neglectful to the child and a felony was committed and as a result of that felony this child died," Isaacs said.

If the state does increase the charges to felony murder, Major and Mason could face life in prison or even the death penalty, but Isaacs said this case is more likely to result in a sentence of 8-12 years or possibly 50 years or more if there is a felony conviction.

"With the custom of practice here in Knox County, a case that starts out as reckless homicide, it would be very remote for it to end up in a death penalty phase before it reached a jury," Isaacs said.

Major sat shaking her head and fighting back tears as the prosecutor fought to keep bond at $1 million.

Mason's defense attorney argued $1 million was far too excessive for reckless homicide and the judge agreed to lower it to $200,000.

Major's defense attorney told the judge he is stepping down due to a conflict of interest.

Major's bond remains at $1 million.

Allen said the state plans to bring in a key witness in the case, Ashley Kilpatrick, who is in the Anderson County jail on charges of violating probation.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office said Kilpatrick was inside the home during the shooting.

Kilpatrick told authorities that she overhead Mason and Major arguing before the gun went off, killing Kelsey.

After Monday's hearing, Major's family said it was disappointed that Mason's bond was reduced.

One of Mason's friends left the courtroom in tears saying she believes he, "is not the monster he was made out to be."

A hearing is scheduled for Major and Mason on July 15.

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