Mother and son accept plea deal after death of teen

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A judge has accepted a plea deal for a mother and son involved in the shooting death of a teenage girl.

Lori Wik was accused of letting her 17-year-old son possess a firearm illegally, which led to the death of his 16-year-old girlfriend.

Hayden, the mother’s son, entered a guilty plea for manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a minor.

The judge ruled Hayden Wik will serve one year in the Charlotte County Jail, followed by two years of community control and three years of regular probation, without early termination.

As for his mother, the judge ordered her to spend five years on state probation.

On March 31, 2021, Charlotte County deputies responded to a gunshot call in Englewood East.

Lori Wik was found performing CPR on Autumn Higgs, 16, by the deputy who first arrived on the scene. Higgs had a gunshot wound under her left eye and was bleeding profusely from the side of her head.

Higgs was the then-girlfriend of Hayden, who pulled the trigger. Hayden told deputies he emptied the gun of its ammo and that he believed Autumn must have put ammo in the gun while he was in the shower in an attempt to harm herself.

Autumn’s mother, Denise Higgs, spoke in court on Friday and said she would forever get a life sentence for losing Autumn, her only child, and Lori and Hayden should have a life sentence too.

“This is the most reckless and egregious inappropriate case of gun safety I’ve ever heard of,” said Higgs. “Lori and Hayden killed her when she was 16 while attending the State College of Florida. This was not by accident but by complete disregard of the law.”

In court, Lori Wik said that she feels as though she has lost a child herself.

“We’ve lost everything,” said Lori Wik. “We have to close because I wasn’t able to work. I had to stay home with him, take him to the hospital, not leave him alone because panic attacks I had to take care of him, and greiving her it’s been really hard. I would do anything to have her back. I would have given my life for her. She was like my child.”

The Judge said Lori and Hayden Wick will get a life sentence of being convicted felons and never owning a firearm again. But off camera, Autumn’s family told WINK News they were appalled by that.

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