Judge puts off sentencing youths

September 20, 2000

Judge puts off sentencing youths

By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

Washington County Juvenile Judge John H. McDowell delayed sentencing Wednesday for two juvenile boys involved in at least one burglary for two very different reasons.

McDowell said he was concerned about the 15-year-old Hagerstown boy's ability to keep up in school when he is constantly moving and wanted more information.

He ordered that the 14-year-old boy be sent to Noyes Detention Center in Rockville, Md., for a week before sentencing because he "needs to see what life will be like if he doesn't change his behavior."

Both boys pleaded guilty to being involved in the burglary of a Buena Vista Avenue home last April and the 14-year-old also had pleaded guilty to damage at Western Heights Middle School, said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Duane Gigeous.


Gigeous told McDowell the boy "needs an eye-opening experience in a lock-down facility."

In ordering the boy to Noyes, McDowell noted that after the boy was advised of criminal charges against him by the Department of Juvenile Justice in regard to the Buena Vista burglary he went out and vandalized the school.

More than $807 in unrecovered items were stolen from the home, Gigeous said. Some items were recovered.

On June 14, the 14-year-old was among four boys who broke in and vandalized the school, Gigeous said. His mother made restitution of $235.50 to the school and of $201.75 to the homeowner.

Earlier this year, the 14-year-old pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary and malicious destruction of property for the school incident and to third-degree burglary for the residential burglary, Gigeous said.

The 15-year-old boy paid restitution of $201.75 on Wednesday for the residential burglary in which he served as lookout, officials said.

On Wednesday morning the 15-year-old pleaded guilty to felony theft, and charges of burglary and malicious destruction of property were dropped, Gigeous said.

The boy did not receive any of the stolen property, Gigeous said.

Defense attorney Michael Morrissette said he was concerned about his client changing schools on a regular basis and that he had gotten caught up with at least two boys who had a history of trouble with the law.

The boy had moved back and forth between South Carolina, where his mother lives, and Hagerstown, where he lives with his father, officials said.

"I just want to stay here with my dad and finish out school and graduate," the boy told McDowell.

McDowell ordered the boy to have no contact with his co-defendants or the burglary victim.

McDowell ordered the boy to return to his father's custody, attend school regularly and not be a behavioral problem, pay restitution, and have random drug testing through the Washington County Health Department.

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