Teen's arrests might violate probation in 2011 Bluffton manslaughter

rlurye@islandpacket.comJanuary 15, 2014 

David Bruno

SUBMITTED PHOTO

A 19-year-old Bluffton man arrested twice in recent weeks might have violated his probation in the 2011 shooting of a 13-year-old boy, according to the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

David Bruno pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in August 2012, a little more than a year after a 9 mm gun he was playing with in his bedroom went off, striking 13-year-old Joshua Lee. Bruno has served a year in jail and one year of probation, but had one more year of probation when he was arrested Jan. 8, accused of assaulting a Hilton Head Island store clerk.

On Monday, he was arrested again after an S.C. Highway Patrol trooper stopped him on U.S. 278 near Buckwalter Parkway and charged him with driving under the influence.

If Bruno is found to have violated his probation, he could face additional sanctions, including a return to the S.C. Department of Corrections to complete his three-year prison sentence.

The Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services generally waits until low-level charges are resolved before holding a hearing on possible violations, agency spokesman Peter O'Boyle said. However, Bruno's agent was aware of the incidents and believed they might be a violation, O'Boyle said. A hearing had not been scheduled as of Tuesday.

In the Jan. 8 incident, Bruno was reportedly outside the Kangaroo Express on Palmetto Bay Road on Hilton Head while his friend, Austin Yago, 17, went inside and tried to steal a bottle of wine, according to Sgt. Robin McIntosh of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. The clerk confronted Yago, who allegedly assaulted him, McIntosh said.

Bruno allegedly went inside, grabbed the clerk by the neck and assaulted him, as well. The assault continued outside the store, where both suspects continued to hit the victim, causing cuts to his face, neck and head, according to McIntosh.

Yago was charged with third-degree assault and battery and shoplifting. He and Bruno also were cited with trespassing. Bruno was released from jail that day.

More information on the DUI charge against Bruno was not available Monday from the Highway Patrol. He was again released from jail Wednesday, after posting a $1,022 bond.

A civil lawsuit also is pending against Bruno and his parents, Hilda Barrientos Morales and Celestino Bruno-Flores. It claims they owe damages to Lee's parents for their son's wrongful death. Ray and Beatriz Lee filed the suit Oct. 12, 2012, arguing Bruno was negligent, careless and reckless in shooting Joshua Lee on June 26, 2011, and leaving the scene without offering or seeking help.

Bruno's parents also failed to use reasonable care to watch over and protect Joshua Lee, the suit states. Bruno, Barrientos Morales and Bruno-Flores denied those allegations in their responses December 2012. The suit has not progressed since.

Attorneys on both sides of the suit declined to comment on the case. Attempts Wednesday to reach Bruno, his parents and the Lees were unsuccessful.

Documents

Click or tap documents or "Scribd" logo for full-screen viewing.

Lee estate's complaint

Complaint: Joshua Neil Lee estate vs. David Bruno et al

Defendants' response

Response: Joshua Neil Lee estate vs. David Bruno et al

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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