Star athlete arrested in assault faces other charges in Baltimore

A two-time state wrestling champion and star quarterback who was arrested last month for assaulting another North County High School student is set to be tried in December in Baltimore on two previous incidents that also resulted in assault charges.

According to police, James Patrick Downey III of Linthicum Heights assaulted Connor M. Little in a parking lot near M&T Bank Stadium in November 2009 while they were attending the annual "Turkey Bowl" football game between Calvert Hall and Loyola. Downey and former North County teammate Louis Patrick Carey were also charged with assaulting two Navy football players at a Baltimore nightclub last June.

Court records show that Downey's attorney is trying to get the two Baltimore cases moved from Circuit Court back to juvenile court since Downey was 17 at the time of each incident. Motions for a reverse waiver are scheduled Nov. 3, two days after Downey has a preliminary hearing on 17 charges, including first-degree assault, robbery, conspiracy and theft, in Anne Arundel County District Court in a Se[t. 20 incident.

Even though he had been arrested twice and North County officials had been made aware of his arrest in Baltimore last June, Downey continued to play football at the Glen Burnie school. However, he has since been placed on "home teaching," meaning that he is not enrolled in school and is not eligible to participate in any extracurricular activities.

It is up to the principal to place a student in an alternative educational setting after an arrest, Anne Arundel County schools spokesman Bob Mosier said Wednesday.

If Downey is charged as an adult in the two Baltimore cases, separate trials would begin in early December. Carey is also scheduled to go on trial Dec. 6 and has been charged as an adult with first-degree assault.

As a result of his arrest, and the fact that he did not tell school officials of the charges pending against him, Carey, a freshman wrestler at North Carolina State University, was suspended indefinitely Wednesday by athletic department officials in accordance with university policy, according to Chris Kingston, senior associate athletic director.

Conviction on first-degree assault carries up to a 25-year prison sentence.

The spate of charges against Downey has put a halt to his promising athletic career. As a junior, Downey was also an academic all-state wrestler, with the highest grade-point average among those who qualified in his weight class for the state championships. He was being recruited by several colleges for both wrestling and football.

Though many wrestling programs stopped recruiting Downey because of his legal troubles, a college wrestling coach with knowledge of Downey's recruiting process said Wednesday that N.C. State, Arizona State and Edinboro (Pa.) are still recruiting him. But school officials at N.C. State said Thursday that they had never recruited Downey.

According to charging documents, Little said that he stopped by Lot O after leaving M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 26, 2009, to see a friend. When Little arrived, his friend was fighting with Downey. Little said that he tried to intervene, but Downey attacked him, knocking out four teeth and breaking a bone in his jaw. Little, a college student, told police that he did not know Downey, who was later identified by witnesses.

That arrest came during Downey's junior year at North County. Downey has said that he transferred to North County from Loch Raven to train with Carey, a three-time state wrestling finalist. Downey also attended Mount St. Joseph as a freshman. He went undefeated in wrestling during his two seasons at North County.

Downey's second Baltimore arrest was June 4, at the Bourbon Street Ballroom nightclub on Guilford Avenue. In that incident, Carey is accused of punching Keegan Wetzel inside the club and Downey is accused of kicking him after he fell to the ground. Bouncers escorted them out of the club, where police say Downey and Carey attacked Wetzel and Devon Richardson for 15 minutes with "punches, kicks and submission holds." Wetzel lost a tooth, "possibly" sustained a broken jaw and had both eyes blackened.

Downey was held in jail overnight on $100,000 bond after his 2009 arrest after a judge doubled the bail set the previous day by the court commissioner. His grandparents, James Downey Sr. and Mary Downey, put up their Pasadena home to post bail. A $25,000 bond was posted immediately after his second Baltimore arrest.

In the most recent incident, Downey and two other teenagers, Danny McGee of Linthicum and Jonathan Hart of Glen Burnie, were charged with assaulting and robbing a 16-year-old after he had tried to sell Downey "a dime bag of marijuana," according to charging documents.

The victim said that Downey refused to pay for the marijuana. The 16-year-old was robbed and beaten, according to police, but tried to get his money back.

The 16-year-old told police his right hand became stuck in the door handle of the car in which Downey and the two teenagers were riding and he was dragged more than 1,000 feet. According to charging documents, the boy sustained injuries to his left hand "consistent with pushing off the pavement." The victim told police that his wallet contained $13.

After his arrest Sept. 29, Downey was released on $50,000 bond Oct. 1.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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