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Suspects face adult trial in carjacking

September 02, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

Jason E. Alfonso and Maria Nieves were juveniles last March, but Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone has ruled that they will be tried as adults on carjacking charges.

Boone on Tuesday refused to waive Nieves, now 18, back to juvenile court. Alfonso's bid for the same consideration failed on Aug. 20.

Both originally were charged as adults when apprehended in New York, court records said.

Both Alfonso and Nieves were charged with robbery, armed robbery, carjacking, armed carjacking, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, first- and second-degree assault in a March 13 incident in Washington County.

"She has no prior adult charges, here or in New York," said defense attorney Steve Kessell. "She has never been found delinquent, here or in New York."

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Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Mark Wolfe argued that the seriousness of the crime made reverse waiver not in the best interest of the public.

"She kept running away from home, wanting to be treated as an adult," Wolfe said. "She and Jason (Alfonso) were living here as adults - they should be treated as adults."

The two were apprehended by authorities in New York a short time after the March 13 incident - in the car they are accused of stealing.

Alfonso was returned to Hagerstown from New York by a relative. Nieves rode down on a bus, police said.

The carjacking occurred in the Turner Lanes parking lot at 1350 Dual Highway when a pregnant woman's car was wrested from her by two people who poked her in the side with a hard object, thought to be a knife, police said.

At their bond hearings last March, Nieves said she was a high school senior, had a part-time job and had never been in trouble before.

At that same hearing, Alfonso also said he was a student. He said he and Nieves had come to Hagerstown on a bus about a week before the incident to visit a friend.

"We had the beginnings of a Bonnie and Clyde here," Boone said Tuesday.

Both Alfonso and Nieves were allowed to remain free on $50,000 bond. Hearing dates have not been set.

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