15 Shots Killed Shelby Allen
What's perhaps more shocking is that the 17-year-old drank them at a friend's house, while the parents were home. Here, how her mom is fighting to make sure no other child dies this way
The Legal Loophole continued...
His decision to file charges of involuntary manslaughter against 16-year-old Jane was not a popular one in the community. "LEAVE HER ALONE," one blogger wrote angrily. Others accused the Allens of trying to find people to blame for their daughter's death and said it was Shelby who had drunk the alcohol that killed her.
"The district attorney made his decision to prosecute Shelby's friend based on his view of the law," Debbie says. "He spent a good deal of time explaining his legal theory to us, and once we understood why charges were appropriate, we supported the prosecution.... Our laws say you file in civil court to seek compensation for damages caused by others," she explains, then swallows hard and adds, "and my family has been damaged in ways that cannot be described. My life will never be the same. I still feel like I am made of stone - that's how I've felt since the day Shelby died. It doesn't go away. I have derived what comfort I can from my faith, but what a terrible impact this has had on Tera, on my husband, on our marriage."
Debbie then calmly and methodically recites a list of the specific reasons the Allens filed their civil lawsuit: "The family in question has never been required to tell the truth under oath; the family invited my daughter to their house after midnight when the family had already been drinking; this family provided my daughter with uncontrolled access to a full bar and left her with two other teenagers, knowing they might drink alcohol; a family member saw my daughter become seriously ill to the point where any normal person would have called for emergency medical aid. In my opinion, this family deliberately chose not to call for the medical help that would have saved her life."
Debbie pauses for a moment and then says quietly, "I almost wish this had happened out on the street, because at least there, I think Shelby would have gotten help. A stranger would have at least called 911 for Shelby. A stranger would have tried to contact her parents. My daughter made poor choices that night, but teenagers make poor choices. It's our responsibility as adults to help them survive those poor choices."
In response to critics who say that Jane was too young to know how to handle such a dire situation, Benito reframes the issue: "We weren't asking her to perform heart surgery or CPR; we were simply asking her to tell an adult. Alyssa, a girl of similar age, showed us how to act in this situation. When she saw Shelby's state, she immediately told an adult - an older sister - who called the father. This started the chain reaction to get Shelby help. This was the proper sequence of events. A girl of a similar age did the right thing."