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16-year-old in Frederick fair assault case sentenced to probation, anger management for spitting on Mount Airy man

A 16-year-old charged with assault after a Mount Airy man died as a result of an incident at the Great Frederick Fair was sentenced to probation and anger management in court Wednesday.

John Marvin Weed, 59, died after police say he was assaulted by 15- and 16-year-old brothers at the fair in September. The 16-year-old pleaded guilty July 8 in Frederick County Circuit Court to one count of second-degree assault, which his attorney said was specifically for spitting on Weed. His disposition hearing, akin to sentencing, was held Wednesday, according to a news release from the State’s Attorney for Frederick County.

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Judge Julie Solt closed the courtroom to the public, at the request of the defense, the release reads. The judge has the discretion to close the courtroom in juvenile hearings.

The state and the victim’s family wanted the teen to be committed and placed in a juvenile treatment program, the release reads. Solt ordered he be placed on probation with conditions. In Frederick County juvenile court, probation is ordered for indefinite periods, the length depending on the juvenile’s needs and response to treatment, according to a spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office.

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Defense attorney speaks out

The 16-year-old’s attorney, Stacey Steinmetz, said that although her client and the state’s attorney’s office do not agree on the facts of the case, she believes the justice system worked. She was glad the case remained in juvenile court, despite the state’s attempts to move it to the adult system.

“I think the court’s done a good job in a very difficult situation,” she said.

Steinmetz suggested there was more to the incident than what has been publicized. One of the results of taking a plea is that there was no trial to test the witnesses on both sides. If there were a trial, she said there would have been witnesses who said this was “not a completely unprovoked situation.”

“There were two sides to the story,” Steinmetz said.

The 16-year-old reacted to something that he was told happened to his brother, she said, declining to elaborate further.

That being said, Steinmetz said her client is remorseful for what occurred and wants to put this behind him.

“We wish peace to Mr. Weed’s family,” Steinmetz said, also describing that family as acting with compassion and grace throughout the proceedings.

Conditions of probation

Conditions of the 16-year-old’s probation include, according to the state’s attorney spokesperson, participating in a victim awareness program to help juveniles understand the victims’ perspective. In the juvenile’s home, services will be put in place to serve counseling needs for the family, plus therapy for behavior modification and anger management, and anger management classes. The 16-year-old will also have to abide by standard conditions of probation such as obeying laws and going to school.

Steinmetz is confident he will meet the terms of probation. She said her client has shown over the past 300-some days that he is compliant and not dangerous.

Another disposition hearing is scheduled for this fall, during which the teen could be taken from the community and put in a juvenile facility if the court finds he is not compliant.

Weed’s family was present for Wednesday morning’s hearing and have appeared regularly for all of the hearings since the arrest of the teens in September of 2019, the release states.

The younger teen pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter April 29 and was sentenced to a long-term behavior modification program.

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The assault

Prosecutors say that just after 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, Weed was approached by the two teens and a couple 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.

Weed started to walk away, the teens followed him, and the 16-year-old punched him in the back of the head, according to a release from the state’s attorney’s office. As Weed “squared up” with the older brother, the 15-year-old came running and punched Weed with such force that he appeared to lose consciousness almost immediately, according to the release. While Weed was on the ground, the 16-year-old spat on him, the release reads.

Witnesses and the 15-year-old said in court April 29 there were no racial slurs used, according to a May 15 state’s attorney’s office release.

Weed was found on the ground near the midway area of the Frederick fairgrounds and was flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. He never regained consciousness and died a day later.

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