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Teen pleads guilty to trespassing

July 21, 1999

A Sharpsburg youth whose act of trespassing at Boonsboro High School on May 4 played a role in a bomb scare scenario that prompted the evacuation of more than 800 students pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court Wednesday.

Ethan Wayne McCoy, 18, of Sharpsburg, was given probation before judgment for trespassing by Judge Noel Spence. He must perform 50 hours of community service.

Acknowledging that he had received a no-trespass letter from the school earlier, McCoy said he wanted to see his girlfriend before school started that morning.

Acting on a complaint, Washington County Sheriff's deputies found him in the school building just before 9 a.m. He fled and was chased by deputies and Maryland State Police through the building.

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He ran outside through a field onto Md. 66 and Alt. U.S. 40 where deputies and a state police K-9 unit apprehended him.

At about 10:30 a.m., a teacher saw a package on top of a chair lift in the hallway between the gymnasium and cafeteria, Lt. Doug Mullendore said.

The discovery came so soon after police arrested McCoy, there was an early suspicion the events may have been linked. But he did not leave the odd-looking package that later proved harmless, police said.

"He acted like a kid, panicked and ran," said his defense attorney, Eric Reed. "He didn't think anyone saw him."

McCoy said he's been out of school for two years, doesn't have a job and lives at home with his parents. He told Spence he'd like to get his high school diploma and go into the service.

"What didn't you understand about the words, don't go onto school property?" Spence asked.

McCoy repeated that he just wanted to see his girlfriend after he missed her phone call that morning.

- Marlo Barnhart

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