The 15-year-old who stood accused of landing the blow that killed a Mount Airy man at the Great Frederick Fair in September pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Wednesday.
The boy was facing three additional charges, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault, but they were dropped with his guilty plea, the Frederick County State’s Attorney Office said. The 15-year-old will continue to be held in a juvenile detention center where he has been held since the fatal incident, pending a May 15 disposition hearing.
The 15-year-old is accused of landing the final punch that killed 59-year-old John Marvin Weed, according to the state. His 16-year-old brother is also accused of assaulting the Mount Airy man and is facing two counts of second-degree assault in juvenile court.
Prosecutors fought for the 15-year-old to be tried as an adult, but a judge ruled in February to keep him in the juvenile system.
Weed’s family was present for the plea through video conferencing, the state’s attorney said, and will continue to be involved with any further hearings.
“They [Weed’s family] have faithfully attended every hearing, and want to see the youth held accountable in an appropriate juvenile residential program,” the state said.
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State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said in a release that he was “pleased” with the outcome because it was his goal from the beginning for the teen to be held accountable on the involuntary manslaughter charge for both Weed’s family and the community. He also said Weed’s family was happy with the result.
“We now turn our efforts toward the disposition set for May 15," Smith said. "Since the judge made the decision to keep him in the juvenile system, that means the judge and juvenile services will focus on his rehabilitation, not punishment like the adult system. That’s a reality that we have to deal with, and one the family understands as well.”
Prosecutors say that just after 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, Weed was approached by the two teens and several of their friends while out with his family at the fair. The 15-year-old and another youth asked Weed for a dollar, and Weed told them no. That’s when a verbal altercation ensued, according to the state.
As Weed started to walk away, the teens followed him, prosecutors said, and the 15-year-old punched him in the head, causing Weed to fall.
The state’s attorney previously said that the 16-year-old also punched Weed in the back of the head, then several minutes later, the 15-year-old came back and landed what prosecutors have called a “deadly blow” to Weed, who lost consciousness almost immediately.
Weed was found on the ground near the midway area of the Frederick fairgrounds and was flown to Shock Trauma. He never regained consciousness and died a day later.