Judge denies house arrest for N. Philly mom whose 4-year-old fatally shot self

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Shakeya Holmes, seen here with her 4-year-old daughter, Sani Holmes, who fatally shot herself June 23, 2016. Holmes is awaiting trial on involuntary manslaughter and other offenses.

A judge on Friday denied lower bail or house arrest for a North Philadelphia mother whose 4-year-old daughter fatally shot herself with a gun in June.

Common Pleas Judge Kathryn Streeter Lewis' concern during the two-day bail hearing was whether Shakeya Holmes, 26, would appear in court for her trial on involuntary manslaughter and related offenses.

Holmes' daughter Sani was killed June 23 after she found a handgun on the shelf of a closet in her mother's bedroom at their North 20th Street house, near Berks, while playing with her younger sister, 3, and shot herself just above an eye.

The judge's ruling followed arguments Thursday. Defense attorney Geoffrey Kilroy contended Holmes is not a flight risk and said she would live at a cousin's house if placed on house arrest. He contended she can't afford to post the 10 percent of her $250,000 bail and wouldn't be able to post bail even if it were lowered.

Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp contended Holmes is a flight risk. She said after Holmes was arrested in juvenile theft cases, she didn't show up for court hearings.

In one case, Holmes was arrested in June 2008 when she was 17. She had an outstanding bench warrant for eight years. The case was not resolved until June 28, after Holmes was arrested in her daughter's death. That case has now been withdrawn, Kemp said.

Kilroy on Thursday said that while under protective custody at the Riverside Correctional Facility, Holmes was several times called a "baby killer" by guards and on Sept. 11, was attacked by a guard.

After her ruling, the judge said if there are concerns for Holmes' safety, Holmes should be moved to another jail. But Kilroy said Friday that if Holmes were moved to a jail outside of Philadelphia, her family would have a hard time visiting her, among other hardships.

He said Holmes now has a supervisor in the Riverside jail to whom she can go to if needed. The guards who harassed her and the one who attacked her have been reassigned to other units, he said.

Prosecutors contend Holmes was grossly reckless for keeping a gun in her house that was accessible to her three daughters, and that after Sani shot herself, Holmes lied to police about the gun because she was more concerned about protecting her boyfriend than getting help for Sani.

Holmes' boyfriend, Demetrius Williams, allegedly kept the gun at the house.

Williams, 26, also faces trial on involuntary manslaughter and related charges. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Holmes and Williams' cases are next listed before the judge Nov. 29 for pretrial discovery matters.

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