Couple charged in 4-year-old’s home daycare shooting death accepts plea deal

ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The couple that operated an in-home daycare where a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself accepted a plea deal in court Tuesday.

Heather Massey, 27, and Nicholas Stoia, 27, were owners of the home in Orange County where Cole James Clark accidentally shot himself a week after his 4th birthday in May 2017.

Massey was charged with five felony counts of child abuse and neglect and Stoia was charged one felony and four misdemeanors related to the child’s death.

The child’s death shook the small, rural community.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Susan Marsee told 8News last year. “You know, having a four-year-old son of my own, I can’t imagine him being taken away from me for any reason.”


As part of the plea deal that was reached Tuesday, Massey pled guilty to one felony count of child endangerment and Stoia pled guilty to a misdemeanor reckless handling of a firearm charge.

Court records show the agreement aims to provide some measure of ‘closure for Cole’s family and for this community,’ and that while nothing ‘will bring this child back,’ the commonwealth believes ‘

The child’s parents were in court Tuesday; his mother is expecting another child, so the family is doing what it can to move on.

And same goes for the defendants; Stoia lost his job with the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office and has since relocated to North Carolina with his fiance, Massey.

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