BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A former Huffman High School student will spend one year in prison for the death of one of his classmates last year.
According to attorney Emory Anthony, Michael Barber has received a 12-month jail sentence for the shooting death of fellow classmate 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington last year at the school.
During his sentencing Thursday morning, Barber made a statement apologizing for his actions, saying that he made a mistake and was taught not to have a use for guns.
Barber’s defense team argued that he had brought the gun to school and was showing it to different people when it accidentally went off, striking Arrington in the chest. The story was corroborated by at least one other student who was at school that day.
“He showed the gun and it went off accidentally, and she laid there and everyone was amazed and everybody shocked,” one student told CBS 42 after the shooting. “He was shocked himself.”
Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said Huffman’s metal detectors were not in use the day of the shooting. After the shooting, the school system took measures to increase security at both Huffman and other schools.
“It is our goal to become a national model for school safety. It is what we must do. It is what we have to do. It is what we are doing,” Herring said at the time.
Arrington, 17, was remembered by her classmates as being kind, funny and focused.
“Everything we do, we’re doing for Courtlin,” friend Jada Lanier told CBS 42. “Courtlin wanted to be here. She wanted to graduate, and we’re making sure our class graduate. Ain’t nobody getting left behind. Everybody is going to graduate. Because if they don’t want to do it for themselves, they can do it for Courtlin.”
Following Arrington’s death, Huffman students staged a walkout to protest gun violence. During the walkout, which was part of a nationwide effort to show solidarity with the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, students walked for 18 minutes to honor Arrington.
Arrington’s mother, Tynesha Tatum, subsequently sued Herring, Huffman High Principal John C. Lyons, the city of Birmingham and others for her daughter’s death, claiming they were negligent in ensuring her safety. The case is still in court.
Originally, Barber was charged with reckless manslaughter–a Class B felony– but a Jefferson County jury ended up convicting him on the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide, which is a Class A misdemeanor. Had he been convicted of manslaughter, Barber would be facing up to 20 years in prison.
At this time, the courts reserved the right for restitution.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.