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Armed robbery case sent to juvenile court

April 07, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - The case against a 16-year-old boy who was charged as an adult in connection with the November 2005 armed robbery of a pizza deliveryman was sent to juvenile jurisdiction Thursday during a Washington County Circuit Court hearing.

After hearing from a psychologist, a social worker, a relative and a police detective, among others, Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III ruled Thursday that, if found involved in the crime, Ryan Scott Kaplan should have a shot at rehabilitation through the juvenile system as opposed to prison time through the adult system.

Kaplan, who had been held at the Washington County Detention Center since his arrest, was ordered Thursday to be detained at the Western Maryland Children's Center pending disposition in juvenile court.

During arguments from attorneys Thursday, Wright said the adult court system "is set up to punish and to keep an individual away from others and from harming people. The juvenile system, I believe, is a system in which there is an effort to change and control ... control and modify."

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Kaplan and another youth allegedly ambushed a Papa John's Pizza deliveryman at gunpoint Nov. 26, 2005, when he arrived at a Lynnehaven Drive apartment building to make a pizza delivery, court documents state.

The deliveryman was ordered by two masked robbers to empty his pockets and place the pizza and soda he was carrying on the floor, police allege. The deliveryman complied, also placing his cell phone and $16 on the floor, documents state.

By Maryland statute, Kaplan was charged as an adult.

Steven Eugene Ebersole, 17, of 360 Yorkshire Drive in Hagerstown, was also charged with armed robbery and other charges as an adult.

Kaplan's attorney, Ben Thompson, on Thursday argued that Kaplan had just turned 16 less than a month before the alleged offense. He argued that Kaplan would be amenable to treatment through the juvenile system.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler argued Thursday that Kaplan has not cooperated with treatment, alleging he had refused to take prescribed medicine and allegedly continued using marijuana despite ordered treatment.

She argued that one of the weapons used in the robbery was allegedly found concealed in a cushion in his bedroom, creating a public safety concern.

Wright agreed that public safety was a concern, but said he wanted to give "one last effort" to offer Kaplan services through the juvenile system.

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