Teen charged in toddler's accidental shooting has case moved to juvenile justice system

Fantaisa Rivera placed on community detention pending decision within 60 days

January 19, 2011|By DON AINES |

A teenage girl charged as an adult with removing a stolen handgun from the scene of an accidental shooting of a toddler had her case transferred to the juvenile justice system Wednesday by Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley.

Fantaisa Rivera, 17, of Hagerstown, had been free on bail since the Sept. 27 shooting of 2-year-old Mario Longus, but Beachley ordered her placed on community detention, meaning she will live with her mother and wear an electronic monitor.

Beachley told Rivera she can only leave her residence under certain circumstances, such as education, counseling or treatment. She also is prohibited from having contact with 16-year-old Marcus Longus, the judge said.

Rivera and Marcus Longus, the older brother of Mario Longus, were charged as adults with offenses including obstruction of police, making false statements to police and firearms violations, court records show.

A hearing on Rivera's petition was held before Beachley last week, at which time the judge said he would make his decision by Wednesday. No hearing has been held on a petition to transfer the case of Marcus Longus to juvenile court, and he is scheduled to appear Monday in circuit court.

Beachley said Rivera's behavior at her hearing was "immature," but she has no history of drug abuse or previous adjudications in juvenile court. The nature of the offenses favored keeping her in the adult court system, but the preponderance of circumstances led him to determine that transferring her case was in her best interest, he said. Beachley said her case would be decided within 60 days.

On the morning of Sept. 27, Hagerstown Police were called to an apartment on Little Elliott Drive where Mario Longus was found with a gunshot wound to the chest. The child was critically injured at the time, but has been moved to a rehabilitation center, Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson said last week.

The toddler apparently found the stolen gun under a bed and shot himself, charging documents said. Marcus Longus and Rivera were in the room at the time, the documents said.

Rivera took the gun, hid it in a nearby playground and lied to police, Wilson said at the girl's hearing last week. Marcus Longus was on home detention and wearing an electronic monitor when the boy was shot, Wilson said.

Rivera testified last week that she had been in a relationship with Marcus Longus for six years and had not attended school in the past few years.

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