Samantha Denise Farley, 30, of White County, has been indicted by the Cumberland County Grand Jury for criminally negligent homicide in the death of her 7-year-old son, Tyler Frederick McBride. Farley was arrested and made her first court appearance, on Sept. 16, 2016, in Cumberland County. The charge stems from a Jan. 25, 2016, incident, in which Farley and her husband, who was the child’s stepfather, had allegedly left four children in their vehicle unattended while they went into the Verizon Wireless store, on U.S. 127, to pay their bill. Farley’s purse, which contained a loaded gun, was also in the vehicle, according to District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway.
Shortly after the incident, Crossville Police Department issued a press release, stating, “It was reported to investigators that one of the children located a loaded a semi-automatic pistol inside their mother’s purse, which was left in the vehicle. Further reports indicate that the child removed the magazine in an effort to unload the firearm. The firearm was accidentally discharged, striking the 7-year-old male victim.” The child was flown by medical helicopter to a hospital, in Knoxville; however, he passed away shortly thereafter because of his injuries.
Dunaway’s office, as well at the Department of Children’s Services, began investigating the case. The next day, on Jan. 26, 2016, Dunaway stated in an interview with The Sparta Expositor that it was too early to conclude whether charges would be filed. At that time, he stated, “At this point we don’t know. We want to wait until everything is looked at first before we make that determination.”
On Oct. 5, 2016, Dunaway explained, “It’s an unfortunate situation. We really struggled with the decision, but we ultimately decided it was appropriate to charge her with criminally negligent homicide.” Making the decision to charge a parent when a child falls victim to an accidental gunshot is done on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts of the case, he stated. In this case, Dunaway says Farley’s actions were “so negligent that it rose to the level of criminal culpability.”