Three more teens charged with murder in death of Baltimore County police officer; all held without bail

Baltimore County police charged three more teenage boys as adults in the death of police Officer Amy S. Caprio, who was killed Monday while responding to a call in Perry Hall.

Darrell Jaymar Ward, 15, Derrick Eugene Matthews, 16, and Eugene Robert Genius IV, 17 — all of East Baltimore — were each charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. They were apprehended Tuesday morning, hours after police arrested 16-year-old Dawnta Harris and charged him with murder.

Harris, of West Baltimore, is accused of striking Caprio with a stolen Jeep while police say Ward, Matthews and Genius were robbing a nearby home.

Caprio, 29, died at an area hospital a short time later.

Distirict Judge Barbara Jung ordered Matthews and Ward held without bail in adult facilities. Matthews and Ward waived their right to appear at the bail review hearing, public defender Gayle Robinson said.

Jung granted a request by Genius to postpone his bail review hearing because his private attorney wasn’t present. She scheduled a new hearing for Thursday.

Prosecutors argued that Matthews be held without bail. They cited multiple previous charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy to commit a felony, and a car theft from March for which he was placed on probation.

Relatives of at least one of the teens attended the bail review, but declined to comment to reporters afterward. Several police officers, some in suits and some in uniform, also attended.

Ward, Matthews, Genius and Harris are all being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson. None of the teens’ familes could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Charging documents for the four defendants outline the series of events that police say led to Caprio’s death, and how they identified and located the suspects.

Police say Caprio was called Monday afternoon to investigate a suspicious Jeep on Linwen Way in Perry Hall. A 911 caller reported that three people had left the Jeep and broken into a home, police say in the documents. They say Caprio came upon the Jeep and pursued the teen driver, whom they later identified as Harris, down the cul-de-sac.

Police say Caprio got out of her patrol car, drew her gun and ordered Harris out. Police say Harris ran over Caprio as she opened fire.

Caprio was pronounced dead shortly before 3 p.m. Monday. Medical examiners said she died of head and chest trauma.

Police launched a massive manhunt for the suspects. A 911 caller reported seeing the Jeep abandoned nearby in the 9500 block of Dawnvale Road. A description of the driver was broadcast over police radio, and police say officers found Harris and stopped him about a block away. He was taken into custory.

Police say they identified Harris as the driver who struck Caprio by using footage from the officer’s body camera. The department declined to release the footage. They say it will be withheld pending the trials of the four defendants.

Police continued to search for the remaining suspects Monday night. County officers from specialized tactical, K-9 and helicopter units, joined by officers from Baltimore, the FBI and other agencies, combed the Perry Hall area.

Police cordoned off the neighborhood surrounding the scene and locked down nearby schools, keeping students long past dismissal. Residents returning home from work Monday afternoon were turned away.

Police say Harris identified Genius, Matthews and Ward as the three suspects commiting a burglary at Linwen Way while Harris waited in the Jeep. The three shattered a rear sliding door in one home, entered and stole “numerous items,” police said in charging documents.

Genius, Matthews and Ward were arrested in Baltimore on Tuesday morning.

Police say Matthews and Ward admitted to committing the burglary. They say Genius initially declined to give a statement, and later objected to being charged with murder. He told officers he was in the house when Caprio was struck, police say. He said he knew only two of the others involved, not all three, police say.

State law permits authorities to file murder charges against co-defendants in a crime in which someone is killed. Felony murder refers to a killing that occurs during the commission of a felony.

“All those committing the felony are responsible for the death,” Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said.

Warren Brown, an attorney respresenting Harris, said Wednesday that his client did not intend to harm the officer, but that he panicked and attempted to drive away from the officer.

Brown said Harris was boxed in by the officer’s car. Brown said Harris attempted to veer around the car when he stuck the officer.

Defense attorney A. Dwight Pettit, who is not involved in the case, said Harris’ defense is similar to a 2001 case in which he represented a teenager who stuck and killed a Baltimore police officer.

“That’s practically the same defense we had,” Pettit said. “How do you get intentional premeditated murder when the person is fleeing? History repeats itself.”

In that case, Baltimore jurors aquitted the teen on all charges.

Baltimore Sun reporter Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.

More: Complete coverage of Baltimore County police Officer Amy Caprio's death »

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