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$1 Million Bond for Man Charged in Brother's Accidental Shooting Death

By  Alex Parker  and Emily Morris | June 30, 2013 1:27pm | Updated on June 30, 2013 2:10pm

 Michael Whitney, 19, is charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of his brother, Malcolm, 16.
Michael Whitney, 19, is charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of his brother, Malcolm, 16.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A judge set bail at $1 million for a South Shore man  accused of accidentally  killing his younger brother while playing with a pistol. 

Michael Whitney, 19, of the 7500 block of South Kingston Avenue, allegedly shot his brother Malcolm, 16, in the head Friday. Police originally thought Malcolm died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot.

Michael Whitney was charged late Saturday with manslaughter and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

Prosecutors said Sunday that when police arrived at the home, they found Malcolm Whitney, a standout basketball player at Hyde Park Academy, facedown on a sofa, bleeding from the head.

According to prosecutors, officers said Michael Whitney found his father's .40-caliber handgun in an unlocked drawer. While he removed the clip, he didn't check the chamber, which was loaded with a bullet. Michael Whitney approached his brother, who was in the bathroom, prosecutors said, and pointed the gun at him, and taunted him.

When Malcolm Whitney reached for the gun, it fired, striking him in the head.

Prosecutors said then Michael Whitney tried to cover up the accident, replacing the clip and shooting through the bathroom window. He moved his brother to the living room and called 9-1-1.

He initially told police that someone shot through the window and hit his brother, prosecutors said. But he changed his story, admitting Malcom Whitney died of a single gunshot wound to the head, said Assistant State's Attorney Latoya Croswell.

Michael Whitney has four prior felony burglary convictions, she said.

His public defense attorney said he attended Phoenix Military Academy. He was also a student at Southern Illinois University in the fall semester of 2012, according to the university.

"This tragedy would not have occurred if a convicted felon had not touched a firearm," Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said.

Michael Whitney was led away from the courtroom in tears, as family members tried to console each other.