Teen charged with attempted murder in shooting to be tried in adult court

May 10, 2012|By DON AINES |

HAGERSTOWN — The case of a Hagerstown teenager charged with attempted murder will remain in adult court after a Washington County Circuit Court judge Thursday denied a defense motion to transfer it to juvenile court.

Judge John H. McDowell denied the motion from defense attorney David Harbin, citing the seriousness of the charges and public safety.

Dennis S. Marshall Jr., 17, is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and firearms offenses in the Oct. 17, 2011, shooting of Colin Wesley Williams.

Not long after he was shot, Williams, 19, of Hagerstown, was charged by Hagerstown police with attempted murder for the Oct. 6 stabbing of another teenager, Malik Scott.

In March, Williams entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault and is incarcerated while awaiting sentencing.

An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment by a defendant that the state has sufficient t evidence to gain a conviction.

Marshall, who was 16 at the time he allegedly committed the shooting, remained at large until Dec. 23 when city police surrounded a house on Avalon Avenue and found him inside hiding in a closet.

Harbin told McDowell that Marshall has never been found to be delinquent of a criminal charge in juvenile court.

Renee Burgan, a social worker with the Public Defender’s Office, testified Marshall could be accepted into an out-of-state juvenile treatment program in a secured facility.

“He is still in adolescence ... 17-year-olds aren’t fully developed,” Harbin Told McDowell.

He noted Marshall never received any treatment within the juvenile system.

Marshall had been charged as an adult in February 2011 with an attempted armed robbery at a downtown convenience store, although the case was later transferred to juvenile court where a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence of his involvement.

Michelle Dordevic, a case-management specialist for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services told the court that based on five criteria — age, physical and mental development, amenability to treatment, nature of the charges and public safety — the department’s recommendation was that Marshall remain in adult court.

“This was attempted murder .... Shooting someone in broad daylight on a public street,” Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher McCormack told McDowell.

Marshall “got a second chance” to be a law-abiding citizen after being absolved in the 2011 robbery, McCormack said.

The shooting showed an indifference to the safety of others beside Williams, McDowell said, noting that Williams’ girlfriend, Fantaisa Rivera, was standing beside him when he was shot.

Immediately before Marshall’s hearing, Rivera appeared in court for a scheduled suppression hearing. However, the motion was withdrawn by her attorney.

The evidence the defense was seeking to keep out of her trial was not discussed in court.

She is being held on charges she robbed a woman in December. Her trial is scheduled for Tuesday.

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