A teenager, charged with illegally possessing a gun during a raid in Catonsville last year that left a police officer and another man dead, was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in jail.
Taquan Barney, now 18, was charged after officers with Baltimore County's tactical unit entered his aunt's home on Aug. 28, 2013. During that incident, Barney's half brother, Tevon Smith, 25, shot at Officer Jason Schneider, who, along with a second officer, returned fire.
Barney's sentencing was the last court appearance related to the deadly predawn raid. Both Schneider and Smith died in the shooting. Barney's cousin, Rasheed Stanford, the intended target of the raid who was wanted in a nonfatal shooting, was acquitted on all charges in May.
Before sentencing Barney to five years with all but 18 months suspended, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Mickey Norman said that under other circumstances, Barney would likely not have faced jail time. But the judge said he could not ignore an officer's death.
Barney has been held at the Baltimore County Detention Center for more than a year after police found a Taurus PT22 .22-caliber handgun in his pants pocket after the raid. He pleaded guilty last month to one count of possession of a regulated firearm while under 21 years old. The charge carries a maximum five-year sentence; sentencing guidelines suggest two years' probation.
No one from the Police Department spoke during the sentencing. The only witness to speak was a volunteer at the jail who had worked with Barney on several classes, which would count toward earning his high school degree.
Barney, who wore the same brown sweater over a plaid button-down and green cargo pants at all his court appearances, asked the judge for leniency.
"I've been here a long time," during which Barney said he has learned many life lessons. "I know this is a step back," he said, with his hands clasped behind his back. He said he was looking forward to a "bright future," and that he didn't want to let down the judge or his family by committing any future offenses.
As in most of the proceedings, Schneider's colleagues, who wore their green tactical uniforms, attended. This time, they packed the small courtroom, standing just feet behind Barney's family.
Barney's attorney, J. Eugene Miles, had urged that his client be sentenced to time served, given that Barney was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. Miles argued that Barney's mental state caused him to want to possess a gun for security. Miles said his client was not considered by mental health professionals to be violent.