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Boy found delinquent after fight

March 29, 2001

Boy found delinquent after fight



By JULIE E. GREENE / julieg@herald-mail.com

A 12-year-old Hagerstown boy was found delinquent for second-degree assault against a schoolmate during Washington County Juvenile Court proceedings Wednesday.

Witnesses testified the Western Heights Middle School seventh-grader punched and repeatedly kicked another boy in the cafeteria on Feb. 28.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley ordered the boy held at the Noyes Detention Center in Rockville, Md., until sentencing rather than return him to his grandmother's custody.

Hearing this, the boy cried and pulled his sweater over his face.

"He's just not suitable for the community at this point," Beachley said. "Schools are to be safe, secure environments. They're not to be interrupted by thuglike behavior."

Beachley heard concerns from Principal Robert Brown about the boy returning to school.

In ordering the boy to Noyes, Beachley said he was persuaded by a psychiatric report and the boy's "high risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system."

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Beachley said the crime "involved a significant level of force" and the defendant could use the structure provided at Noyes.

The boy also was found delinquent of willfully disturbing and preventing the orderly conduct of the activities and administration of a secondary school.

He was not found delinquent on a charge of second-degree assault against an instructional assistant.

Instructional Assistant Kelly Logsdon testified the victim was on the cafeteria floor and the defendant stomped his forehead with his boot, banging the boy's head into the floor.

The defendant also moved the victim's leg aside and kicked him hard in the groin, said Logsdon.

The 13-year-old victim testified he fought with another boy in the cafeteria first. While teachers were breaking up that fight the defendant asked him why he hit his cousin, the victim said.

The victim and Logsdon testified the victim did not fight back after being punched in the face and was repeatedly kicked in the face and torso once on the floor.

The victim said he had a bloody lip, bruises and a headache that lasted into the next day.

Logsdon said she tried to pull the defendant off the victim, but he shrugged her off and at one point swung his arm back and clipped her.

The other teacher, restraining the boy from the first fight, may not have noticed the second fight, she said. Another teacher finally showed up and got the defendant off the victim, she said.

Under cross-examination by Public Defender Michael Morrissette, the victim said he also was hit in the lip, torso and side of his head by the boy in the first fight, which could have contributed to his injuries.

Morrissette tried to present letters of apology from the boy to the instructional assistant and the victim. The boy accepted the letter, the assistant did not.

"I wasn't overly impressed," said Beachley, who described the letters as "virtually identical."

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