Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan and Devon Smith — three former Pennsylvania officers involved in a shooting resulting in the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility — were recently sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment late last year.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Devaney, Dolan and Smith will spend the first 11 months of their sentences on house arrest and can only leave their residences for work, religious reasons or medical emergencies.
The prosecution asked Delaware County Court Judge Margaret Amoroso to give the former officers jail time, while their lawyers asked for a less harsh sentence. Before the judge announced his decision, Devaney, Dolan and Smith addressed the Bility family. They begged for forgiveness and shared their grief at their role in Fanta’s death.
Amoroso said she determined incarceration inappropriate in this case because Devaney, Dolan and Smith did not have criminal records. She also noted their service to the community, and they showed “no ill will in their actions” during the incident.
“If what I did today could bring Fanta back, it would be a very easy decision,” she told Fanta’s relatives in the courtroom. “But nothing I can do can make you whole.”
CNN reported that Fanta was shot and killed in August 2021 while leaving a high school football game with her family in a Philadelphia suburb. Authorities say a verbal confrontation between a group of men catalyzed the shooting. Devaney, Dolan and Smith were at the high school at the time of the shooting and, after hearing gunfire, opened fire on a vehicle moving down the street across the football stadium. The Bility family was in the car they targeted.
Fanta was killed during the shooting, and her sister and two others were injured.