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Twins Admit to Shooting Father

August 3, 1999 GMT

HENDERSON, N.C. (AP) _ Eleven-year-old twins have admitted that they fatally shot their father and wounded their mother and sister four months ago.

Originally charged with first-degree murder, the boys entered pleas Monday to lesser charges and avoided a public trial. Their identities were not released.

One pleaded responsible to second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. The other pleaded responsible to involuntary manslaughter and assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

The brothers face sentencing in 60 days after counselors interview them. The maximum sentence would be confinement in a juvenile facility until they are 18.

Their mother, Deborah Bawcum, 44, and their 16-year-old sister, Robin, sat behind them during the hearing.

Prosecutor David Waters told Judge H. Weldon Lloyd the shooting occurred April 1 after the mother went to their room and found a .223-caliber assault rifle under the covers of one bed.

When Mrs. Bawcum tried to take the weapon, one twin wrestled with her for it and the other _ the only one to fire any shots _ fired at her with a .38-caliber pistol.

When Bill Bawcum, 45, heard the shooting, he rushed upstairs and was shot twice. The same boy shot his sister as she called police.

After the proceeding, the prosecutor said there was no evidence the boys planned the attack despite a cache of ammunition in their room. The shootings happened with weapons the parents kept for personal protection at their rural home.

``It was a situation in which children disobeyed their parents and it had tragic consequences,″ Waters said.