The 15-year-old who is accused of landing the blow that killed a Mount Airy man at the Great Frederick Fair in September will not be charged as an adult, a Frederick Circuit Court judge ruled, keeping all proceedings in the case in juvenile court.
Frederick Circuit Court Judge William R. Nicklas Jr. ruled Tuesday that the 15-year-old, who is charged with manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of second-degree assault in connection with the death of 59-year-old John Marvin Weed, will remain in the juvenile system.
The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office had filed a waiver petition to move the case to adult court, and a hearing on that waiver was held Feb. 21. During a waiver hearing, the court decides whether to grant a request to move a juvenile case to adult court after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defense.
“Prosecutors Rebecca Clinton and Laura Wilt worked very hard to provide a compelling argument for waiver. However, we have to respect the judge’s ruling while continuing to seek justice for Mr. Weed’s family," Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said in a news release. “This has been a sad situation that unfortunately has divided our community. We will continue to fight for the victim’s family, while respecting the decision."
The state had requested waiver hearings for the 15-year-old as well as his 16-year-old brother, who was also charged in the case, with two counts of second-degree assault. Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Julie Stevenson Solt announced Feb. 18 that the 16-year-old’s case would remain in juvenile court.
In a waiver hearing, the judge must consider five factors: the seriousness and nature of the offense; public safety; age of the youth; mental and physical condition; and the youth’s alleged amenability to juvenile rehabilitative measures, according to the release.
Because cases in juvenile court are often kept private, proceedings in both teens’ cases will likely be kept from public view.
Solt ruled in back-to-back hearings Nov. 19 that the teens would continue to be held in custody of the state Department of Juvenile Services.
The attorney representing the 15-year-old, John Maclean of Frederick County Public Defender’s Office, told the Times on Wednesday, “We’re very grateful for the court’s decision. Ms. [Elizabeth] Lopez and I both believe very strongly that this case belonged in the juvenile system and we are grateful that the court agreed.” Lopez is a supervising attorney for juvenile cases with the Baltimore County Public Defender’s Office.
Weed was found lying unconscious on the ground near the midway area of the Frederick fairgrounds just after 5:36 p.m. on Sept. 20, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. He was flown to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and died at about 4 p.m. Sept. 21, the Sheriff’s Office said.
According to the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, the assault began after the 15-year-old asked Weed for a dollar at the fair, Weed refused and a verbal altercation ensued. When Weed walked away, the State’s Attorney’s Office said in September, the teens followed him, the 15-year-old punched him in the head, causing him to fall, then his 16-year-old brother spat on Weed.
Smith said at a Sept. 23 news conference that the 16-year-old also punched Weed in the back of the head, then several minutes later, the 15-year-old “comes flying through, lands a deadly blow to the victim.”
Laura Wilt of the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office said at the Nov. 19 hearing that the actions of the 16-year-old, though not fatal, might have provided the opening for his 15-year-old brother to approach the victim’s “blind side” and land the final blow.