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Three 17-year-olds charged as adults in Harford armed robbery

Laws and LegislationTheftJustice System

Three 17-year-old boys accused of an armed robbery in Aberdeen are being charged as adults, for now, after their bail review in Harford County District Court Friday afternoon.

Devonte A. Vanhook, Wesley J. Moore and Deshaun Felipe Moore were each held in lieu of $25,000 bail after they allegedly robbed two males of a cell phone at Baltimore and Second streets early Thursday morning.

Deshaun Moore was released Friday and Vanhook was released Monday after each posted bond. Wesley Moore remained in the detention center Thursday morning.

According to police charging documents, the teens approached the victims while they were riding bikes at about 12:27 a.m., allegedly pointed a gun at them and stole a cell phone.

The charging documents also identify a fourth suspect, a 15-year-old boy, who was not at the bail review Friday.

District Court Judge John Dunnigan explained to three who were present in court that they are charged in a "very serious matter" involving armed robbery, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.

Each boy is also charged with second-degree assault and theft under $1,000.

Dunnigan ordered an investigation into the possibility of transferring them to the Department of Juvenile Services, and said that possibility will be reconsidered at their upcoming trials.

Neither Devonte Vanhook nor Deshaun Moore have any prior arrests. Wesley Moore has had two run-ins with Baltimore City Police involving drugs but none of those charges were sustained, according to court records.

Kelly Casper, a public defender who appeared on the three teens' behalf, asked that Vanhook, who lives in the 1000 block of Eloise Lane in Edgewood, be transferred to the juvenile facility because of his lack of record and smaller physical size. She also said he allegedly used a BB gun in the robbery, not a handgun.

The boy's mother, Rana Vanhook, was emotional while defending her son.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I never had no problem with him. He went to school, graduated," she said, telling the judge her son does not use drugs and she does not know if he is involved in a gang. "I am really shocked that this is going on."

She said he is trying to attend barber school online and graduated from Joppatowne High School.

"He don't leave my side," she said.

Deshaun Moore, of the first block of Law Street in Aberdeen, has been attending a boarding school in Hershey, Pa., where he was scheduled to be Sunday.

Casper said he works at the school concession stand while he is there and asked the judge to consider releasing him on the condition that he stays in the school until his next court appearance.

The judge made the same decision as he did for Vanhook, ordering further investigation but denying the request to hold him in a juvenile facility.

Wesley Moore, also of the first block of Law Street in Aberdeen, who is a cousin of Deshaun Moore, previously failed to appear in court and has schizophrenia for which he recently has not taken medication, Casper said.

"His reaction to the schizophrenia is delusions and hallucinations," she said, asking for him to be released because of his lack of record and mental health issues.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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