They were in court on Monday.
Frederick, Md (KM). The two teenagers charged in connection with the deadly assault of a Mount Airy man at the Great Frederick Fair last week remain incarcerated. State’s Attorney Charlie Smith says the two went before Circuit Court Judge Julie Stevenson Solt on Monday. She ordered they remain detained at the Alfred Noyes Center in Rockville, a facility for juveniles between 12 and 18 who are awaiting trial.
“We argued that they still presented themselves as a threat to others, and that we felt that it was in the public interest for them to detained,” says Smith. “So the judge did detained both juveniles, the 15 and 16-year-old, for the next 30 days.”
The two youths were arrested following the assault at the Fair late Friday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office say deputies working the Fair found John Weed, 59, lying on the ground unconscious. He was flown to Shock Trauma, where he died late Saturday afternoon. The 15-year-old is charged with 1st- and 2nd-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. The 16-year-old is charged with 2nd-degree assault. Both are brothers.
There has been discussion on social media about why these two juveniles are not being charged as adults. But Smith says the law, not the State’s Attorney’s Office, determines whether those under 18 charged with serious crimes can have their cases transferred to adult court. “We can file petitions for wavier and we are going to take a look at that. The law does say that although a juvenile is charged as a juvenile, there is a process in place where we can seek to have waived into the adult system.”
Smith says the decision on whether to apply for a waiver will be made when the Sheriff’s Office finished its investigation.
Smith added right now, there are a lot of unanswered questions. “We want to know who else was involved. Are we going to charge other people? That’s a possibility as well,” he says. “Frankly, I believe that anyone who participated in this assault, even minimally, should be charged for it.”
Smith says another question to answer is whether this was a hate crime. “Spitting on someone is not a hate crime,”: he says. “Assaulting them because they’re black of white, young or old, disabled, because of their religion, that is a hate crime. If those facts exist–which we are not aware at this moment–if we do become aware of them, and we believe they warrant a hate crime, then we’ll charge a hate crime.”
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says the actions of these two youths could be classified as a hate crime. He says right now, there is no evidence that this assault was racially motivated. But the Sheriff says the two teenagers continued to taunt and spit on Mr. Weed as he was on the ground. They seemed to despise this man for some reason, Jenkins says.
The two juveniles are black; Mr, Weed was white, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
Smith also says any decision on whether to charge these two youths with additional charges will come after the investigation by Sheriff’s Office detectives is finished. “We don’t have facts sufficient to charge a 1st-degree premeditated murder, or a 2nd-degree specific intent to kill murder,” he says. “We’re going to charge the maximum the law allows us to charge. But that’s a decision we can only make once we have all the facts.”
Detectives and prosecutors are continuing their investigation of the assault.
By Kevin McManus