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Bel Air teen found guilty of killing his mother with a hammer in 2017

A Harford County jury deliberated for three days before finding a Bel Air teenager guilty of killing his mother.

Andrew Phillip Zaragoza, who turned 18 earlier this month, was found guilty Monday of second-degree murder, possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure and possession of a dangerous weapon in the death of Donna Zaragoza, 56, on July 20, 2017, according to court records.

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He was 16 at the time of the murder and had just finished 10th grade at C. Milton Wright, where he played football as a freshman, according to his public defender.

The case began Jan. 15 and testimony finished last week. The jury deliberated Thursday and Friday before being sent home for the weekend. The 12 members reached their verdict Monday morning in Harford County District Court.

A 16-year-old C. Milton Wright student has been charged in the murder of his mother last week in their Bel Air home, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Sentencing is expected to be in about 90 days, once a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

“Today the jury reached their verdict in the case of State of Maryland v. Andrew Zaragoza. I am extremely proud of the hard work of Assistant State’s Attorneys Mark Meehan and Adam Bosse, who worked tirelessly for justice on this very difficult case,” State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger said in a statement Monday.

Donna Zaragoza was found dead around 6:30 a.m. on July 20 in a second-floor bedroom of her home in the 1000 block of Jeanett Way, beaten with a hammer. She had also suffered from stab wounds.

Andrew Zaragoza was behind the door of another bedroom and as deputies negotiated with him, Andrew Zaragoza slid a bloody knife under the door and said “My mom was taking pills this morning, she hit me and I killed her,” according to court records.

When Andrew Zaragoza opened the door, he was suffering from multiple self-inflicted stab wounds. He also told police he drank bleach in an attempt to kill himself.

In searching his house, deputies found a letter dated the day of the murder in which Zaragoza said he killed his mother and was going to kill himself.

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He has also sent a text message to another person, with a picture, saying that he had killed his mother and that his life was over, according to court records.

Sheriff's deputies has been called to the home numerous times in the past before the murder, mainly for instances of drug abuse, mental health and domestic issues, as well as animal complaints and medical emergencies, according to the sheriff’s office.

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