SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Edward O’Rourke, whose son used a gun he found in his father’s bedroom to accidentally kill his 12-year-old friend in December 2010, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday and will serve no jail time.
Edward O’Rourke, 58, pleaded guilty in Saratoga Springs City Court to child endangerment. To the dismay of Naumkin’s parents, Judge Jeffrey Wait sentenced O’Rourke to no jail time or probation, but banned him from owning firearms and required him to submit a DNA sample to the state’s database.
A misdemeanor conviction can carry up to a year in jail or up to 3 years of probation.
O’Rourke’s son, then 12, killed Nicholas Naumkin on Dec. 22, 2010, while the boys were alone in the O’Rourke family’s home on Birchwood Drive. Edward O’Rourke kept the 9mm pistol in an unlocked drawer, according to prosecutors.
Naumkin’s family had called for O’Rourke to serve time behind bars. His father, Yuri Naumkin, told Wait that O’Rourke has never expressed remorse and should have faced a more serious charge.
“Send Mr. O’Rourke to jail, even if it’s only for a year,” he said in an impact statement read after Wait handed down the sentence.
District Attorney James Murphy said the sentence was solely at the judge’s discretion because O’Rourke’s plea was not part of an agreed-upon deal between the defense and the prosecution.
O’Rourke did not speak in court. After the proceeding, he was taken downstairs to the police station to provide a DNA sample.
His attorney, Jeffrey Bagnoli, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. But he told The Post-Star’s news partner, WNYT-TV NewsChannel13, that O’Rourke pleaded guilty to spare his son from having to testify at a trial.
His son, whom The Post-Star is not naming because of his age, received probation in Saratoga County Family Court in connection with the incident.
In his statement, Yuri Naumkin called his son “a beautiful, vibrant, gentle, well-mannered, smart boy with a great sense of humor, intelligence and other honorable qualities.”
He also referenced the death of his 77-year-old father-in-law, Oleg Moston, who was struck by several vehicles while attempting to cross the Northway after visiting his grandson’s grave two weeks after the shooting.
In his statement in court, Yuri Naumkin criticized a culture of gun ownership in America and said “rights always come along with great responsibilities.”
Wait explained to the victim’s family that O’Rourke would not have pleaded guilty if it meant he would be sentenced to jail. The judge said he wasn’t convinced O’Rourke would be convicted if the case went to trial and said the case could drag on through the appeals process for months if he were convicted.
Naumkin’s family said they would have been willing to wait through the process.
“I’m disappointed,” the boy’s mother, Oksana Naumkin, said outside court. “I know that nothing will bring him back, but we feel we didn’t get any justice here.”