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Teen committed to youth center for arson attempt

January 06, 2000

A Hancock teenager who was found delinquent for trying to set a neighbor's house on fire near Hancock last September was committed Wednesday to an Eastern Shore youth center.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell placed the boy at Maple Shade, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

Disposition had been delayed for two months while a pre-sentence investigation was prepared.

At a trial on Nov. 3, Jody Palmer, the owner of the 6655 Grason Lane home, testified he walked out of his house to throw away leftovers at 9 p.m. on Sept. 3 and while walking back, saw someone turn off a light in his basement and make several flicks of the wrist, like trying to strike a match.

When Palmer went to the basement after chasing someone off his property, he said he smelled gasoline and saw a gas can in the garage doorway.

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Family members testified the boy came home before 9 a.m. and didn't smell of gasoline.

- Marlo Barnhart

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