Man accused of shooting Durham 10-year-old will enter plea as part of 'groundbreaking' process

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- The Durham District Attorney's Office said Tuesday that a man charged with firing a bullet that struck a 10-year-old Durham girl as she slept in May 2017 will have a plea hearing and sentencing Thursday morning.

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James Scott Berish, 23, of Durham, is charged with the criminally negligent discharge of a gun in his apartment in the 4200 block of Garrett Road. The bullet traveled to the apartment below, hitting Daisy Medina in the abdomen.

District Attorney Roger Echols said that with the victim's family's consent, his office agreed to handle this felony case through a "groundbreaking Restorative Justice process."

As part of the process, Berish read a letter of apology to Daisy and her family and asked for forgiveness. Family members had a chance to describe their emotions from the night of the shooting.

The final step of the restorative justice process, Echols said is "an opportunity for the community to heal."

On Thursday, Berish will plead guilty to his criminal charges and take responsibility for his actions, Echols said. Part of that process will consist of Berish speaking at gun safety and awareness programs.

The DA's office said this case is the first violent felony to ever proceed through a formal restorative justice program pre-trial in North Carolina.
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