Prosecutors have notified 16-year-old Brian Tate, charged with the murder of another teen-ager in a dispute over a girl, that they will seek a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Mr. Tate received the notification Thursday at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center, where he is awaiting trial on Aug. 4. He is not eligible for the death penalty under state law because he is under 18.
"When Brian received it, it obviously terrified him," said George S. Lantzas, the defendant's attorney. "He is a very upset, distressed 16-year-old kid."
State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said the notification, which is required 30 days before trial, was warranted in this case because prosecutors feel the slaying was clearly premeditated.
"It's a serious crime; we think that he's a serious individual," Mr. Weathersbee said. "We're trying to get more information on his psychological condition, but I was not willing to forgo the possibility of such a sentence."
Mr. Lantzas said a life sentence is not appropriate for Mr. Tate because of his emotional condition and age.
"We haven't received all the reports, but I think it will be clear that he's an extremely troubled young man," Mr. Lantzas said. "I would question whether it's appropriate for a 16-year-old to begin with, but especially for someone with emotional problems, it may not be the most appropriate sentence."
Mr. Tate, a former quarterback at Broadneck Senior High School, is charged as an adult with the Feb. 16 murder of Jerry Lee Haines, 19. According to court records, Mr. Tate waited outside for Mr. Haines at the victim's home in Cape St. Claire. When Mr. Haines arrived and began to climb out of his truck, Mr. Tate allegedly stabbed him more than 20 times. He allegedly dragged the body to a neighbor's yard and buried it under a pile of leaves.
According to the court records, a 16-year-old girl had been seeing Mr. Tate. They broke up and she began dating Mr. Haines. Mr. Tate allegedly threatened to kill Mr. Haines over the girl and on several occasions yelled obscenities at Mr. Haines.
Mr. Tate also was charged in March with arson and attempted first-degree murder for allegedly setting fire to the house of Anthony Rogalski on Nov. 8. Police believe that Mr. Tate was angry at Mr. Rogalski's son, Jimmy, for dating another of Mr. Tate's former girlfriends.