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Man gets maximum juvenile penalty in attack with shotgun

March 20, 2003|By GREGORY T. SIMMONS

An 18-year-old Burtonsville, Md., man was given the most serious juvenile punishment possible Wednesday after he admitted to charges that he fired a sawed-off shotgun at three people last December when he was 17.

Jovon Brian Lancaster admitted Wednesday to three counts of assault in Washington County Circuit Court. Judge Donald E. Beachley committed Lancaster to the Department of Juvenile Justice for institutional placement, the heaviest punishment at the juvenile level.

Assistant State's Attorney Steve Kessell requested that Lancaster be placed in a program at the Charles H. Hickey School, which is a secured facility in Baltimore County. Kessell said the program at Hickey usually lasts between 12 and 18 months, but said Juvenile Justice can keep him until he is 21 years old.

Police initially charged Lancaster as an adult with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

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His case was moved to the juvenile system as part of a plea agreement, said Lancaster's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Brian Hutchison. Under that agreement, all charges against Lancaster, except the assault charges, were dropped.

At about 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 police received a call for possible shots fired in the first block of East Washington Street near Locust Street, Kessell said in court Wednesday.

Police found witnesses who said Lancaster had had an argument earlier that night over a snowball fight. When he and some friends saw the group of girls again, the 18-year-old fired the shotgun, Kessell said.

Police did not find shotgun pellets, Kessell said, but several witnesses corroborated the story. Police also found a 12-gauge shotgun with a sawed-off barrel.

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