HAGERSTOWN — In a “troubling decision,” a Washington County Circuit Court judge Tuesday ordered one of two Hagerstown teenagers charged with robbing a convenience store in February tried in adult court and the other in the juvenile justice system.
Eric Shaquille Baymon, 18, of 411 S. Potomac St., and Dennis Steven Marshall Jr., 16, of 228 Taylor Ave., were both charged with armed robbery, robbery, assault, reckless endangerment and firearms violations, according to court records.
“This is a really troubling decision. There is no middle ground,” Judge Daniel P. Dwyer said in ruling that Marshall’s case be transferred to juvenile court.
Marshall’s best chance for becoming a productive adult would be treatment through the juvenile system rather than, if convicted, a state prison sentence, Dwyer said.
Studies have shown that juveniles sentenced to state prisons “come out more violent and more dangerous than they ever were,” Assistant Public Defender Loren Villa told Dwyer. She represented Marshall at his court transfer hearing.
Baymon, who was a member of the Greencastle-Antrim High School basketball team at the time of the robbery, was just three days short of his 18th birthday, according to court records. But Dwyer denied his motion for transfer to juvenile court, the records said.
A Hagerstown police officer was on patrol just before 11 p.m. on Feb. 20, when he saw suspicious activity by two males outside Nadia’s Convenience Store at the corner of North Prospect and West Franklin streets, according to the statement of probable cause. As the officer pulled into the parking lot, he saw a male pointing a handgun at the head of the owner, the charging documents said.
The two males ran off, but police detained two teenagers fitting the description of the robbers on Walnut Street a few minutes later, the documents said.
A retired state trooper and his bloodhound were brought to track the route of the robbers, leading police to a handgun and a sawed-off shotgun, both of which were later found to be stolen, as well as discarded clothing, the documents said.
The owner of Nadia’s was in court during the hearings, but did not speak, although Dwyer read his victim-impact statement into the record.
Marshall told police he took part in the robbery because he wanted a new pair of sneakers, the documents said.
When his case was in adult court, Marshall was out on bail. However, after transferring the case to juvenile court, Dwyer ordered him detained pending a juvenile detention hearing.