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Ruling delayed in teen's case

April 23, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A 13-year-old boy's explanation about a sharpened letter opener and some explosives components in his backpack didn't impress Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell Wednesday in juvenile court.

Hagerstown City Police stopped the boy at mid-day on March 16 on South Burhans Boulevard - a school day, according to Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

He told police he was having trouble with his mother's boyfriend and was going to live with his father, Lochbaum said.

A check of his backpack turned up a sharpened letter opener, lighter fluid, some caps and several hundred match heads in a container. There also were several rubber Halloween masks.

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Hagerstown Fire Marshal John Hersh told McDowell that the match heads could be used in a pipe bomb.

Defense attorney Michael Morrissette said the boy moved to Hagerstown from Damascus, Md., with his mother after his parents divorced.

The boy said he was taking some of the items in the backpack to his father who had since moved to Hagerstown.

The boy said the match heads must have been in there from before.

"We're not going to put up with any foolishness here," McDowell said.

After the boy admitted carrying a concealed weapon - the letter opener - disposition was delayed. The judge placed the boy on community detention in his mother's home.

The boy was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and drug and alcohol screening.

In addition, McDowell ordered an educational assessment since the boy apparently hasn't been going to school since he moved to Hagerstown.

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