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Thursday, Jan 17, 2019
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Her son killed another teen, now Valrico mom will spend two years on house arrest

TAMPA — The mother who hid two guns after her son fatally shot another teen in their Valrico garage apologized Monday to the dead boy’s family.

Heidi Quinn stood in chains and an orange jail suit as she faced the parents and friends of Jayquon Johnson.

"I’m very sorry, what happened," she said. "I cannot even imagine how bad you feel about this. It hurts me too. I’m very sorry."

Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco sentenced Quinn to 30 days in jail, 21 of which she had already served. Sisco also ordered Quinn to complete two years of house arrest — excluding work and religious services — followed by two years of probation.

Johnny Johnson wore a lanyard with a picture of his late son as he addressed the judge before the sentence was announced. He spoke of the lingering questions Quinn’s actions left his family.

"We are still left with a lot of unknowns," Johnson said. "We will never know if you had done the morally right thing and called for help for my son, he may have been here to defend himself."

The case stemmed from the fatal Jan. 1, 2017, shooting of Jayquon Johnson, a star basketball player at Brandon High School. That day, Johnson visited Quinn’s home to buy marijuana from her 16-year-old son, Cody, according to trial testimony.

During the transaction, the two teens began to argue. Jayquon Johnson pulled out a handgun. Cody Quinn pulled his own gun and fired.

In court Monday, Heidi Quinn recalled that she heard the gunshot, but thought it was a firecracker until her son came running into the house. She opened the garage door and saw Johnson lying on the floor.

"Where did you shoot him?" she said she asked.

"I think in the leg," she said her son replied.

She panicked when she saw two guns at Johnson’s side, she said.

She took them outside and placed them in a trash can full of dirt. She later put them back in the garage.

Heidi Quinn was found guilty last month on a charge of tampering with evidence. The trial was her second. The first ended in a mistrial after a jury could not agree on whether she had broken the law.

"What’s important for me to hear is that you understand that you made a horrible mistake," Sisco told Quinn. "I understand how stressful and panic-stricken you were. But the decisions you made were wrong."

Cody Quinn was not charged in the shooting. The Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office said there was insufficient evidence to rebut his claim of self-defense. He was, however, charged with drug-related offenses. That case has not yet gone to trial.

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