A 16-year-old charged in the alleged assault that led to the death of a Mount Airy resident at the Great Frederick Fair in September will not be charged as an adult, a Frederick County judge announced Tuesday.
Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Julie Stevenson Solt denied the state’s motion to waive the 16-year-old case to adult court, Will Cockey, spokesperson for the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, wrote in an email Tuesday morning.
“Last week in a closed proceeding we argued for waiver, the defense argued against," Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said in a Tuesday news release. “Despite this being a closed juvenile proceeding, I am still allowed to inform the public about the scheduling or result of any step in any litigation. With that said, today Judge Solt issued an opinion denying our motion to waive the 16 year old into the adult system.”
In the release, Smith said he cannot comment on the judge’s ruling and, given that Solt decided the case will remain in juvenile court, all further litigation regarding the case will remain confidential as long as the proceedings are closed.
Solt announced she would issue her opinion Tuesday after a closed waiver hearing was held last Wednesday, according to a news release from the State’s Attorney’s Office. The 16-year-old has been charged with two counts of second-degree assault in connection to the death of 59-year-old John Marvin Weed.
During a waiver hearing, the court decides whether to grant or deny the state’s request to waive a juvenile to adult court after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defense, according to the release. The state requested a waiver hearing for the 16-year-old and his 15-year-old brother, who was also charged in the case.
Cockey said Tuesday he could not comment on whether the teens are still being held. 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.
In a waiver hearing, the judge must consider five factors in making their decision: 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.
Smith predicts the nature of the alleged crime, which is that the 15-year-old landed the fatal blow, will “weigh heavily” on the judge’s decision regarding the waiver for the 15-year-old.
Smith said the younger teen’s waiver hearing has been scheduled for sometime this month.
“Obviously, his charges are more severe than his brother’s,” Smith said in an interview Tuesday.
The 16-year-old was charged with two counts of second-degree assault for allegedly slapping the victim’s head and spitting on him, Smith said.
Although Solt did not side with the prosecution in the waiver hearing, Smith said it’s apparent she gave the decision great consideration in waiting to issue a written opinion.
“Obviously, it was well thought out,” he said.
After what the state’s attorney called a comprehensive investigation, the state decided to charge the 16-year-old with second-degree assault and does not plan to bring additional charges against him, Smith said.
Stacey Steinmetz, who represented the 16-year-old at the Nov. 19 hearing, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.
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.
The 15-year-old was charged with manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of second-degree assault.
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.