Judge denies motion to dismiss manslaughter charges against officers in Fanta Bility shooting

The former officers are facing 12 criminal counts each, including manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Monday, September 26, 2022
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The former officers are facing 12 criminal counts each, including manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Delaware County judge denied a motion on Monday afternoon to dismiss some of the most serious charges against three former Sharon Hill officers in the fatal shooting of 8-year-old Fanta Bility.

The former officers are facing 12 criminal counts each, including manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Lawyers representing Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan, and Devon Smith previously filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss the manslaughter charges.

RELATED: 3 Sharon Hill police officers charged in shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility

Defense lawyers argue that because investigators were not able to determine which officer's gun fired the bullets that killed Bility, the manslaughter charges are not warranted. On Monday afternoon, a judge denied the request to dismiss those charges.

"We know very well this won't bring Fanta back but we do appreciate the support that we are getting so far," said Fanta's uncle, Abu Bility.

District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said the judge's decision further proves the prosecution was justified in bringing manslaughter charges.

RELATED: Delaware County activists say police, borough not being transparent in death of Fanta Bility

"Each of the three officers shot at the same target, we are bringing the charges against all three," said Stollsteimer.

This all stems from an incident on August 27, 2021.

That's when investigators said the officers heard gunshots as people were leaving a football game at Academy Park High School, and then fired into a crowd of people while attempting to return fire.

Fanta was struck and later died.

Her mother Tenneh Kromah spoke outside the courthouse, "I think about her every single day."

Just last month, members of the NAACP raised questions at a Sharon Hill council meeting about why investigation reports have been so heavily redacted in their push for more answers.

Fanta's family recently spoke with Action News reflecting on one year since her death. Her mother, Tenneh Kromah, called her daughter kind and generous.