PHILADELPHIA (January 24, 2013)—Javier Merle, 26, a Philadelphia drug dealer whose young son shot himself to death with a gun that was been hidden in a sofa, was sentenced to nine to 18 years in prison Thursday.
Merle apologized to his family and in-laws at his sentencing on Thursday.
Prosecutors say Merle stashed heroin and a loaded 9 mm pistol in the couch at his Kensington, Pa., home.
Javier Merle, Jr., 4, found the gun in July 2011 after his father went outside during a dispute with neighbors.
Merle pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drug charges in August.
Merle's attorney says the boy's death has torn the family apart, but judge reprimanded relatives for tolerating Merle's drug dealing.