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DECATUR — Avante M. Flesch pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the involuntary manslaughter of a 12-year-old Decatur boy who was killed, prosecutors said, because Flesch was fooling around with a handgun that discharged accidentally.

The victim, Marqueius N. Gray, died at Decatur Memorial on Nov. 12, the day he was shot in the chest while in the living room of a house in the 1100 block of North Main Street. Flesch, 20, also pleaded not guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of a weapon and the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

A coroner's jury earlier this month ruled the cause of death was accidental. 

A sworn affidavit from Decatur police officer Jason Kuchelmeister said Flesch had panicked and fled the scene at the time of the shooting, but he was later interviewed at police headquarters.

“Mr. Flesch stated ... he located a black-colored .380 (handgun) which was lying on a couch,” Kuchelmeister said in the affidavit. “Mr. Flesch advised he picked up the handgun and removed its magazine. Mr Flesch sated he began playing with the handgun and that it accidentally discharged and struck Mr. Gray.”

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Flesch, represented by Chief Public Defender David Ellison, said little at Wednesday’s hearing but told Judge Phoebe Bowers he wanted to waive a preliminary hearing. Bowers said she found probable cause to try him and the case was put on the trial list of Judge Thomas Griffith. A pretrial hearing was set for Jan. 4.

Flesch remains in custody in the Macon County Jail in lieu of posting $100,000 bond.


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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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