REDDING, Calif. — A California judge awarded a verdict of $19.7 Million to Grady Stepp who was two years old when he suffered a severe brain injury after he accidentally shot himself in the face at his great-grandparents home in Shingletown on February 13, 2011.
Shasta County Superior Court Judge Stephen Baker found Johnnie and Sue Stepp responsible for their great grandson Grady’s permanent brain injuries.
At the trial, Grady Stepp’s parents testified that at around 8 a.m., Grady’s father took him to his great-grandparent’s, Johnnie and Sue Stepp, home in Shingletown for Sunday breakfast.
They said Johnnie Stepp had slept the night before on the couch in the family room, the same room where the children in the family played and kept their toys, a usual occurrence.
The family told police that when Johnnie slept in the family room, he did so with a loaded 9mm pistol laying on the carpet nearby, in the open, so that the gun was within easy reach of the couch.
That morning, Johnnie got up but failed to pick up the loaded gun off of the floor and secure it in a locked container or to make it safe with a trigger locking device as required by law.
When Grady arrived, he walked through the kitchen into the family room to play.
Within minutes a gunshot was heard. Grady had picked up the gun that was lying on the floor in the open and accidentally shot himself in the forehead between his eyes.
Grady is now eight years old and suffers from a severe brain injury that requires care 24 hours a day.
The verdict is the largest verdict to an individual in Shasta County history.