The juvenile landed 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 Weed and is facing two counts of second-degree assault in juvenile court. He awaits trial.
The 15-year-old had a disposition hearing Friday morning in Frederick County Circuit Court, according to a Friday afternoon news release from the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office. In the juvenile system, a disposition hearing is akin to sentencing for adults.
At Friday’s hearing, Judge William R. Nicklas Jr. followed the state’s recommendation that the 15-year-old be placed in a long-term behavioral modification program.
Nicklas said, “this is a flat out horrible case” and that this was an “unprovoked sucker punch,” according to the news release. The teen will remain in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services pending placement in a program, the release states.
“This was the maximum disposition possible for this youth with this offense,” Will Cockey, spokesperson for the state’s attorney, wrote in an email. Lesser options could have been probation or a short-term modification program, he said.
The Department of Juvenile Services will determine which facility the teen goes to and the length of his stay will depend on performance and behavior, according to Cockey.
“These programs provide resources such as monitoring of medications, anger management, social skills, education, behavior modification programming, family therapy, individual therapy to name few,” Cockey wrote.
“In the juvenile system, this is the best we can do for the family," State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said after the hearing, according to the release. "It’s also what is right at this time for the offender given his status as a juvenile. Nothing will bring back their loved one, but I hope that they can begin to heal a little more now that this part is behind them.”
Weed’s family participated in Friday’s hearing via video conference, the release states, and attended every hearing, wanting “to see the youth held accountable in an appropriate juvenile residential program.”
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. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter April 29. He 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’s Office said.
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.
Witnesses and the 15-year-old said in court April 29 there were no racial slurs used, according to the release.
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.