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Carjacking case ends with acquittal youth said to have made up story

THE BALTIMORE SUN

GERMANTOWN -- A federal jury acquitted a Germantown man of charges that he kidnapped a Gaithersburg juvenile and )) forced him to drive through Maryland and Washington to buy crack cocaine.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore found Brandon R. Barnes, 21, not guilty of charges of kidnapping and a weapons offense.

In October, federal prosecutors said the charges were made in ** the state's first federal carjacking case, although the indictment came several weeks before the federal carjacking law went into effect.

The Gaithersburg juvenile, who was 17, had claimed that Mr. Barnes abducted him at gunpoint on Sept. 20 outside a Germantown 7-Eleven store and forced him to drive during the early morning hours to a number of crack cocaine outlets in the Washington area.

Deputy Federal Public Defender Michael Citaramanis argued, however, that the juvenile went to the convenience store to buy condoms.

He said the teen went voluntarily with Mr. Barnes to pick up women.

Mr. Citaramanis said the youth made up the kidnapping story to avoid trouble from his parents when he returned home at 5 a.m. that day.

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