(Golden, CO – May 5, 2021) On May 4, 2021, in Jefferson County District Court, Michaela Dawn Harman (DOB 12/1/95) pleaded guilty to felony Child Abuse – Negligently Caused Serious Bodily Injury, a class 4 felony, in the shooting death of three-year-old Ruby Jackson. Ruby was shot by her brother, age seven, while both children were in the care of Ms. Harman, their mother.
On April 21, 2020, Westminster police were called to 10745 Moore Circle on a report of a child who had been shot. Responding officers found Ruby had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. Westminster Fire Department paramedics transported Ruby emergent to a hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
The investigation determined that Ruby and her brother were playing “swords” when the seven-year-old boy picked up a shotgun from the couch that was out in the open and unsecured. The little boy “pushed the button” and the shotgun discharged, striking and killing Ruby. During a forensic interview, the boy said he didn’t know the shotgun was loaded. He reported that he had played with the shotgun the day prior and it was not loaded at that time. Harman admitted to detectives that on the evening of April, 20, 2020, she had loaded her shotgun and brought it downstairs to the main family room where the children had access.
As part of the plea agreement, Senior Deputy District Attorney Amelia Sapp noted that “caregivers of the sibling that pulled the trigger were very hopeful for a resolution short of trial due to the trauma this incident has inflicted on him, and the fear that testifying may have a greater impact on him.” Additionally, Sr. DDA Sapp considered the fact that Harman took responsibility for her negligence that led to Ruby’s death.
Sentencing is set for July 1, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., where Ms. Harman is expected to be sentenced to probation, including mental health and substance abuse treatment.