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Trial to begin for teen accused in father's death

July 14, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A 16-year-old girl who prosecutors allege asked a friend to kill her father is scheduled to appear for trial Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Her father was found dead last Halloween.

Danielle Black will be tried as an adult, a judge ordered May 28.

Black's defense argued during a hearing that the case should be handled in the juvenile system.

Black had been charged as a juvenile with solicitation of first-degree murder in connection with her father's death, but on Dec. 19, 2008, Washington County State's Attorney Charles Strong filed an information charging her with the same crime as an adult.

Initially charging Black as a juvenile was a mistake made by the state's attorney's office, Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael has said.

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Conviction on a solicitation of first-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Billy Lee Black's body was found the morning of Oct. 31, 2008, in a pool of blood behind a house at 210 James St. in Hagerstown's West End.

Alec Scott Eger, 20, of 15 Berner Ave., is charged with first-degree murder and felony murder in Black's death.

Eger is not the person prosecutors allege Black asked to kill her father.

His defense entered a not criminally responsible plea May 15 and he must undergo a mental evaluation before he can stand trial.

Black's journal writings and school records appear to reveal a troubled teenager who wrote poetry, sometimes about her father, often seemed depressed and wondered whether she could go on living.

Court records containing her writings were made available shortly after Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III decided that her case would go forward in the adult criminal system.

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