Judge Kaleb Cockrum held Pamela Faye Millsap to answer yesterday for the Feb.18 killing of her 17-year-old son, who died from a shotgun blast to his abdomen.

Cockrum, calling the case ‘’a tragedy for all those involved,” held the 39-year-old Millsap to answer for voluntary manslaughter with use of a firearm, along with two counts of child abuse. She is scheduled for arraignment July 9.


Millsap and her son “John Doe” had argued that evening in the laundry room of their Union Street home, with the boy reportedly accusing his mother of molesting him as a young child and threatening to kill her and his 10-year-old half-sister. They both left the room, with the teen going to his bedroom.

Then, the judge said, Millsap had to walk through the kitchen to get ammunition, go into her bedroom and get her shotgun, load the gun and walk into the living room.

Millsap told police her son grabbed the gun barrel and said “Shoot me,” raising the barrel toward his neck. She pried his hands off and lowered the gun.

But, according to 10-year-old Jane Doe, “her mother raised the gun again and John Doe then lunged for the firearm,” Cockrum said. “The second raising of the firearm does show conscious disregard for human life.”

Millsap told police the gun went off, even though the safety was on and she didn’t pull the trigger.

“She was the only one with her hands on the end of the firearm,” the judge said. During arguments before the judge made his ruling, Deputy Conflict Counsel April Van Dyke defended Millsap’s decision to arm herself.

“What do you do when you have a nearly 18-year-old son who threatens to cut your throat and threatens to kill your 10-year-old child?” Van Dyke asked. She said Millsap, who has epilepsy and can’t drive, had no way to escape the situation.

During the hearing “it was stated over and over and over again about how often John Doe threatened his family, that it was almost a daily thing … this is not conscious disregard for human life; it’s regard for the life of her 10-year-old child.”

It was Jane Doe, at her mother’s request, who called 911. Asked what her emergency was, the girl said “My brother is threatening to kill my mother.”

Deputy District Attorney Whitney Timm argued that just the act of pointing a firearm at another person demonstrates conscious disregard for human life. She pointed out that when mother and son left the laundry room, the boy didn’t follow his mother. When he came out of his room and saw her holding the shotgun, he said “I was going to leave but you brought out the shotgun.”

At that point, Timm said, there was no imminent threat and no reason for Millsap “to escalate and use deadly force.”

“Ms. Millsap is John Doe’s mother,” Timm said. She said the 17-year-old frequently got drunk, and Millsap did nothing to stop if. In fact there was alcohol in plain view in the kitchen.

“Now her emotionally disturbed child is having an emotional moment, talking about the abuse he suffered at her hands,” the prosecutor said. “And her response was to get a loaded firearm.”