MORRISON – Rock Falls teen Brady Osborne received 3 years' probation Thursday afternoon for accidentally shooting and killing his best friend 18 months ago.
"I am sorry," the tearful Osborne said before the ruling. "My stupid decision is the reason why my best friend is not here."
He could have been detained in a juvenile facility until he turned 21 in the death of Matt Anderson.
The 17-year-old Newman Central Catholic High School student, son of State Police trooper Troy Osborne, also must complete 480 hours of public service, which will include publicly sharing his story, and must submit a letter of apology to Anderson's family within 2 weeks.
"Brady is someone with low risk and high need," Whiteside County Judge John Hauptman said before sentencing. "He has a low risk of being a re-offender, and he has to deal with the psychological effects of the tragic lapse in judgment."
Osborne must also continue to see Ronelle Allen, his Dixon-based therapist. Allen told the court that Obsorne is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"He is forced to live and walk around with the memory that will not go away," she said. "He has a hard time sleeping, and he has nightmares over what happened."
Allen also said Osborne must continue to live with his decisions.
"Going through the guilt and the grief is intense," she said. "He has to carry that guilt for the rest of his life."
In other terms of his probation, Osborne will not be able to leave the state, unless he has approval from his probation officer. He can't possess a firearm, and any weapon in his house must be locked and away from his possession.
He also can't consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
"If you violate the terms of your probation, I can re-sentence you," Hauptman told Osborne. "We could be right back in here."
Osborne was charged with reckless conduct for accidentally shooting Anderson, 15, in the chest on March 1, 2014, while handling a gun at the Obsorne home.
Assistant State's Attorney Carol Linkowski had originally asked Hauptman to sentence Osbourne to juvenile detention.
"He went into his father's closet to look for an air pump to play basketball, and he found the gun," Linkowski said. "He could have just left the gun on the shelf."
The last person to speak before the judge gave his ruling, Osborne looked at Anderson's family and told them how sorry he is.
"Matt is gone because of me," Osborne said. "I love you all, and I am sorry."
The teenager's words were met with tears from the Anderson and Osborne families.
Jennifer Anderson, Matt's mother, tearfully addressed the court.
"This has effected our family in so many ways," she said. "Since Matt's death, our world has been turned upside down."
She said her son will not be able to experience life's moments, like driving a car.
"Matt was really looking forward to driving a car," she said. "He will never drive, go to prom, graduate high school, graduate college, or have kids. He will never have that chance, since Brady picked up a loaded gun."
At the conclusion of the hearing, Jennifer Anderson met with Osborne in a private room.
"I hugged him, kissed his cheek and told him that we all need to move forward and be the best people we can be," she said. "I told him we are here for him if he ever needs anything. Matt and Brady had a special bond."