The defense attorney for Kenyatta Mahkia Brown, accused of felony involuntary manslaughter in the accidental shooting of a young woman at a September party, alleged Thursday that the woman’s fatal wound was self-inflicted.
Russell Miller said following a Sacramento Superior Court hearing in the case that witnesses at the Sept. 19 party said Joslynn Sovenski shot herself with the assault-style rifle later recovered by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies.
Sacramento County sheriff’s investigators alleged Brown, 22, mishandled the weapon and discharged the round that killed Sovenski, 18, of El Dorado Hills. She was shot in the chest.
Miller, outside the courtroom, said he awaits forensic evidence and other discovery. That includes gunshot residue, DNA samples recovered from the weapon and autopsy results that Miller said will show “the distance of the firearm from the decedent.”
At Brown’s September bail hearing, Sacramento County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard said Brown fled the party with another weapon after the shooting, leaving his brother to tend to the dying Sovenski.
On Thursday, Norgaard declined comment on the case other than to dispute the defense’s theory.
“We feel we have sufficient evidence to prove otherwise,” Norgaard said.
Sovenski had recently graduated from Ponderosa High School, was newly hired as a restaurant manager and was considering a career in the Air Force. Brown and Sovenski did not know each other, authorities said, but were at the party through mutual acquaintances.
Older brother Danny Sovenski told The Sacramento Bee in a September interview that he saw his sister and another girl in a video taken at the gathering posing with a gun an hour before the fatal shooting.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman ordered Brown to return to court Jan. 13. Brown is free on $100,000 bail.