Three charged in October ‘Russian Roulette’ death of teen

BURTON — Police have arrested and charged three individuals, two adults and one juvenile, in the Oct. 24 who allegedly stood by while a 17-year-old Burton shot himself in the head during a game of Russian Roulette.

The shooting happened Oct. 24 at approximately 2:30 a.m., when Burton police were dispatched to home on S. Packard Street in reference to a man being shot.

When they arrived, they found Zander Smith, 17, of Burton, lying unresponsive on the floor of a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head, according to Assistant Genesee County Prosecutor John Potbury.

Smith would have turned 18 on Friday. His father has led a campaign on social media for several months calling for charges in the case.

Potbury said the prosecutor’s office has charged three individuals, two adults, Denver Diffin, 19, and Carter Gorham, 17, as well as a juvenile who was 16 years old at the time of the incident.

Each is charged with the 15-year felony of Involuntary Manslaughter for aiding and abetting Smith in his apparent self-inflicted fatal injury. The incident took place at Denver Diffin’s home.

According to reports, the prosecutor said it took nearly five months to bring charges because the case was sent back to the Burton Police for more investigative information.

Two of the suspects, who were 17 and 19 at the time of Smith’s death, are charged as adults and face up to 15 years in prison.

The third was 16 at the time and will face less time for the same charge, if convicted.

The first of the three is due in court March 25.