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Teen to be tried as adult on charges related to death of county officer

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A 17-year-old charged with gun violations in the wake of the shooting that killed Baltimore County tactical officer Jason Schneider will be tried as an adult in the case, a judge ruled Thursday.

Police said Taquan Barney was struggling with Schneider when another man shot the officer during a Catonsville raid in August. Barney's lawyer asked to move his case to the juvenile court system, where penalties are generally less severe and focused on rehabilitation.

Defense attorney J. Eugene Miles said Barney was being unfairly held responsible for the officer's death, though he was neither the target of the raid nor the person who pulled the trigger. He said the juvenile system would give him better access to treatment for a recent diagnosis of schizophrenia.

"This was a clear-cut case for a juvenile court," Miles said.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge John Grason Turnbull III denied the request, referring to charges against the teen as "extremely serious."

Barney was charged with three counts of illegally possessing a Taurus PT22 .22-caliber handgun after a tactical team entered a home on Roberts Avenue searching for Barney's cousin, Rasheed Stanford, 17.

Stanford was wanted for a non-fatal shooting in the area earlier that month but was not home at the time. He later turned himself in to police. Stanford is expected to appear in court for a motions hearing on Jan. 29.

When officers entered the home, police said, Barney began to run and Schneider chased him, tackling him with a ballistic shield. As the two struggled, police said, Tevon Smith shot Schneider in the back.

Smith also died after Schneider and a second officer returned fire.

Barney, in shackles, wore green cargo pants, a plaid button-down shirt and a brown sweater. He did not speak during the hearing, holding his hands behind his back with his head down.

"The family is not making the argument that he shouldn't be punished for having a weapon," Miles said.

Miles told the judge the teen had been carrying the gun for protection because of fear associated with his mental illness. Miles said the teen did not pull out the weapon during the raid.

Assistant State's Attorney Allan J. Webster called Barney a "significant threat to public safety," and said he had been in contact with the juvenile justice system six times — including two counts of assault in 2011.

Barney has remained in a juvenile wing of the Baltimore County Detention Center, along with Stanford. At the detention center, Miles said, Barney got into an altercation with another inmate who was bullying him.

"He is in every which way a child," Miles said. He added that mental health professionals who evaluated the teen found Barney cooperative and receptive to treatment.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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