A "compassionate" Bel Air teenager, who had given two people he knows a ride last week, was allegedly beaten, stomped on and hit repeatedly with a hammer by those two people late Saturday night or early Easter Sunday morning, according to police and the teen's parents..
Alex Folmer, a 2016 Bel Air High School graduate, who is attending Harford Community College, was home recovering Thursday afternoon, four days after he was attacked while he slept on the sofa of the home he lives in with his parents on Moores Mill Road in Bel Air.
Ian Patrick Heinecke, 18, whose last known address was in the 2000 block of Brandy Drive in Forest Hill, and Ryan Michael Smetana, also 18, of the 2300 block of Mills Road in Fallston, are charged in the attack on Alexander Folmer with home invasion, third- and fourth-degree burglary, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and vandalism more than $1,000. Both are being held without bail at the Harford County Detention Center.
At Smetana's bail hearing Thursday, Assistant State's Attorney Mark Meehan said Smetana, as a juvenile, had a history of tampering with evidence and retaliating against witnesses and victims, and asked District Court Judge Victor Butanis to keep him held without bail.
Smetana has lived with his grandmother in Fallston for about nine months, he told Butanis during his hearing. Before that, he lived with his father on Reedy Circle in Bel Air.
He had been working for Austin Contracting until about two weeks ago, Smetana told the judge. He has been looking for work, he said.
Public defender Brian Cunningham said Smetana, a lifelong Harford County resident, reached 12th grade then obtained his GED.
According to Bel Air Police, sometime between 11 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday, Heinecke and Smetana allegedly kicked in the side door of the Folmer home.
Alex Folmer was staying home alone overnight for the first time, while his parents and four brothers traveled to the Pittsburgh area for Easter, Folmer's mother, Tina Folmer, said Thursday. They left April 13 and came home Sunday, earlier than planned once they found out what happened to their son.
"It's the last time he'll be home alone," she said.
Smetana, whom Alex Folmer knew as "Bootz," allegedly punched Folmer and stomped on him with his foot, police said. Heinecke allegedly hit Folmer with a hammer numerous times, police said.
The hammer marks are only on his arms and legs, "thankfully," Tina Folmer said.
"It's clear they boot-stomped his face," his father, Dan Folmer, said, since Alex has clear marks.
Heinecke and Smetana allegedly damaged Alex Folmer's two guitars, a wooden dresser, a computer and a cell phone, according to charging documents, which say damage is estimated at $3,000.
The assault was allegedly in retaliation for an alleged theft, Sgt. Jim Lockard of Bel Air Police Department said.
Alex Folmer's parents said their son knew both teens through different friends in the community, but he didn't socialize with them, that they knew of.
Alex had seen Heinecke and Smetana walking earlier last week, his parents said, and he gave them a ride. Tina Folmer said the pair allegedly stole Alex's tip money - he works at Loafers in Aberdeen.
The two were not at a party Alex had at his house Friday night, which he was told not to do, his parents said.
Alex was unconscious for eight to 12 hours after the assault, Tina Folmer said, "that's why it took so long" to call police. Her son had finally started to get himself together and because his phone was destroyed in the attack, found an iPad to contact a friend who came over to his house and called police, she said.
He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital in Baltimore for treatment, according to the charging documents.
Alex suffered at least one, possibly two broken orbitals, fractured sinuses and has a severe concussion, his parents said. He has a lacerated spleen and lots of cuts and bruises.
"He's OK. He's not OK, but he's going to live and that's all that matters," Tina Folmer said.
She and her husband feel violated, Tina Folmer said. They are active in the community with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and "shaping young lives."
"The fact that this happened to our son is wrong," she said. "Our family has always really tried to do good and to help bring the community together and to be a part of the community."
"So, the fact that people that come from our community, some boys that came from this community did this is very troubling," she continued. "We really try to think the best of people and to give people chances. Alex is the same, he's very compassionate and he for the most part really believes in people and believes in trying to help people. And I hope that doesn't hurt him, that it doesn't change him. But we feel a bit broken."
"We feel as though we've let our son down, we feel as though we've let our friends down, and our community and our other children and the fact that we didn't keep him safe," she said.
The support from the community and the police has been unreal, Tina Folmer said.
"It's what continues to keep us having faith in humanity," she said.