The East Concord teenager who shot his younger brother in the family's kitchen last fall was spared further jail time Monday for what his father called "just a stupid accident" that then was "mishandled" by local authorities.
Dominick "Nick" Drumsta III, 19, was ordered by State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns to remain on court-supervised probation for the next three years for his July 14 misdemeanor assault plea in the shooting of his brother Ryan, 17, last Nov. 24.
Dominick Drumsta had been jailed for three months after the incident with a shotgun both brothers claimed they didn't know was loaded as they wrestled with it.
The defendant did not speak during the sentencing but joined his parents and pastor in criticizing the prosecution moments later.
Burns, who could have ordered Drumsta to serve a local jail term of up to one year on his plea in what had begun as an attempted-murder prosecution last fall, also imposed $210 in court fees and ordered him to submit to substance abuse testing and treatment if recommended.
The judge rejected a request from Drumsta's attorney, John K. Jordan, to impose a "time-served" sentence to spare Drumsta further punishment.
Burns noted the defendant has "some mental history that requires" him to continue taking medication.
The judge said he did not think "any further incarceration is necessary," but he urged Drumsta to continue with professional treatment for his mental condition, which was not disclosed in court.
Ryan Drumsta hugged his brother outside Burns' downtown Buffalo courtroom. Ryan Drumsta still needs at least two more surgeries to repair shotgun damage to his stomach area.
The defendant called the sentence imposed by the judge "ridiculous, I think, but something needed to be done."
Linda Drumsta, the boys' mother, called the criminal case "a parental nightmare."
Insisting the shooting was an accident, she conceded that in wrestling in the kitchen with what proved to be a loaded shotgun, her teenage sons "each made a mistake."
Dominick Drumsta Jr., the boys' father, thanked the news media for keeping the story in the public eye after authorities "blew something way out of proportion" in filing felony charges against his son.
He said he felt "there has been a lot of mishandled judgment" by authorities in electing to prosecute his older son for what he called "just a stupid accident."
The father said the family is unlikely to appeal the sentence because of the financial burden the case already has caused.
The family will still have to pay fees to the Erie County Probation Department for the next three years of monitoring the defendant. The money authorities spent prosecuting this case "could have been spent helping others" more in need of financial assistance locally, and an appeal would just "waste more taxpayer dollars," Drumsta Jr. said.
The Rev. Matthew Eisenhower, pastor of Springville Crossing, the nondenominational church where Drumsta III heads a youth group, agreed with the boys' father that the cost of the prosecution played a factor in the family's letting Nick plead guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge.
Prosecutor Kristin A. St. Mary declined to comment after the sentencing.
During the plea proceeding in July, the defendant told the judge he did not know the shotgun was loaded with a deer slug when he pointed it at his brother and pulled the trigger.
Both boys finished the school year at home under instruction from tutors, and Drumsta III graduated from Springville-Griffith Institute and works with his father in the family's computer repair shop.