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Teen can return home despite rock-throwing incident

September 15, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Despite a rock-throwing incident while he was on informal supervision, a 14-year-old Hancock teen was returned home Wednesday by a reluctant Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell.

"I feel uncomfortable sending (him) home pending disposition," McDowell said. "There is something going on here and the court needs to know about it."

McDowell was referring to reports that while the teenager was supposed to be living with his mother in Hancock, he was living with two different siblings in another state.

The informal supervision was imposed on June 16 after the youth was in court to answer for a May 4 bomb threat at Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

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At that hearing, all involved in the case agreed that the matter, which had been set for a delinquency hearing, would be better handled informally.

Defense attorney Michael Morrissette told McDowell then that his client denied involvement in that threat incident, which involved a poem written on a piece of paper and found in a magazine.

That poem, which Morrissette recited, was in a magazine that the teen had been given while in detention earlier on May 4.

"This is a bomb threat as you see, it will be very much fun for me" was the text of the note, Morrissette said in June.

The note was found by Principal Robert Myers who reported it to police. But in June, Myers concurred with the court's decision to handle the incident informally.

A Department of Juvenile Justice caseworker told McDowell Wednesday that since June 16, she had been unable to reach the teen or his mother at any of the phone numbers or addresses she had given.

At an intake hearing for the bomb threat incident after June 16, the teen's mother showed up without him.

"I couldn't find him that day," the mother said in court Wednesday.

Since classes began this term, reports are the teen has changed his behavior at school, prompting McDowell to take a chance on him staying at home.

But McDowell said he wanted the teen and his mother to be tested for drug use Wednesday after learning that the teen's principal has substance abuse concerns for him.

As to the rock-throwing incident, the teen and a co-defendant, also 14, both admitted damaging/tampering with motor vehicles on July 13 at 7:21 p.m. along Interstate 70 near Hancock.

Three victims were identified, two of whom presented damages totaling $941.23, which the teens' parents agreed to split the cost and pay.

The second 14-year-old who had no prior history of juvenile delinquency was placed on indefinite probation.

"I can't understand why you became involved in something so dangerous," McDowell said to the second 14-year-old Wednesday.

None of the drivers was injured in the incidents.

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