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Boy, 15, in court over gun incident

March 30, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Weapons were involved in two cases heard Wednesday in Washington County Juvenile Court.

cont. from front page

The 15-year-old Hagerstown boy who pointed a gun at the head of a female classmate in mid-February admitted to one count of second-degree assault and was placed on probation for an indefinite period by Judge John H. McDowell.

"I would like to apologize (to the victim)," the boy said in court. "It was just a joke but now I know how stupid and serious it was."

A straight-A student with perfect school attendance and no history of trouble, the boy spent time at the Alfred Noyes Detention Center in Rockville, Md., when he was first charged.

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"I don't ever want to be in a place like Noyes again," he said Wednesday.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum told the judge that the incident began when the girl told the defendant she didn't want to go out with him and his friend.

The two boys went to see the girl at her home, Lochbaum said. One boy held a knife to her throat while the defendant put a gun to her head, she said.

The gun turned out to be a broken BB gun but the victim didn't know that, Lochbaum said.

"She said she was so scared, she couldn't speak," Lochbaum said.

The co-defendant, who was charged as an adult, is awaiting trial on the same incident, according to court records.

The girl reported the incident to school authorities, who alerted the Washington County Sheriff's Department, Lochbaum said.

She was in the courtroom Wednesday and told McDowell that the teenage defendant hadn't caused her any problems since the incident.

Defense attorney Ed Button said the teenager comes from a stable family with strong family support and that there is no evidence of substance abuse.

"It was a very stupid, foolish act," Button said. "He now understands that any kind of gun is serious to the victim."

While on probation, the boy was ordered to attend victim awareness training, perform 50 hours of community service, continue to attend and do well in school, and write a letter of apology to the victim.

In a separate case, a 15-year-old Hancock boy admitted having a knife at Clear Spring High School on Dec. 8 and to stealing two machetes from a sporting goods store in Hancock in January.

"There is a very serious mental health situation here with this fascination for knives," McDowell said.

Defense attorney Michael Morrissette said he wouldn't disagree with a plan for four weeks at the Thomas B. Finan Center in Cumberland, Md., with family evaluation as part of that plan.

Disposition was delayed.

"(This boy) seems to crying out for help," McDowell said. "He has reported his own violations."

The teenager was in juvenile court last year for an incident in which he threw objects off a bridge onto vehicles on Interstate 70.

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