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Teen gets probation in assault at school

August 19, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

A Smithsburg Middle School homeroom fight that started when someone was called "too fat" to snowboard landed a 15-year-old in Washington County juvenile court on Wednesday to answer a second-degree assault charge.

The 15-year-old admitted on Wednesday to the charge and was placed on indefinite supervised probation for the offense.

While the youth was in homeroom in December 2003 he overheard a conversation about snowboarding and called one of the students speaking "too fat to snowboard," said Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Flores.

Flores said that after a brief exchange of words, the youth "punched him several times with his fists." She said that the victim did not fight back.

"This is an absurd matter. This could have been avoided," Flores said.

The boy's defense attorney, Ben Thompson, said that the youth has not gotten into trouble since the incident.

A Washington County Public Schools representative said that he has average and failing grades and has been a behavioral problem.

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The boy's grandfather told Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley, sitting in juvenile court, that, "My wife and I have had these kids for several years. There's a limit physically and emotionally to what people our age can handle in dealing with these kids."

Beachley told the boy's grandfather that if the youth does not meet the conditions of his probation, "we'll send him somewhere else."

He asked the boy if he understood what that meant. The youth replied, "I have to stay clean and get in no more trouble and I promise to do that."

Beachley placed the youth on an 8:30 p.m. curfew and told him that he needs to work up to his potential in school.

Next time, Beachley said, pointing to the courtroom entrance, "Instead of going out that door, you'll be going out that door" and pointed to the door that leads to the courthouse's holding cells.

Teens face judge in assault at party


Two youths, ages 16 and 17, were in juvenile court Wednesday to answer claims that they beat up another teenager at an early morning party in Cascade.

The first youth, a 17-year-old Smithsburg High School student, entered an Alford plea to a charge of second-degree assault in connection with the beating of another teenager at an April house party in Cascade.

Under an Alford plea, a respondent does not admit guilt, but agrees that the state has sufficient evidence to convict.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Flores said that on April 9 at about 2:45 a.m., a Sheriff's Department deputy talked with a teenage boy who had told him that he walked into a party at a Cascade residence and was immediately punched in the nose by the respondent.

"The respondent had been calling the victim a racist several times during school," she said. The victim "alleged he had been invited to the party so this fight could ensue."

She said that the 16-year-old took a board and hit the victim over the head and on his back.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley, sitting in juvenile court, placed the 17-year-old on indefinite supervised probation. The 16-year-old was ordered to continue his placement at a specialized treatment facility for alcohol and drugs until a predisposition investigation is completed.

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