A Baltimore County judge found a Dundalk teen-ager guilty yesterday of escaping from the Charles Hickey School for
Billy Hammond, 17, could have been sentenced to a maximum prison term of three years. Instead, Judge J. Norris Byrnes gave him credit for three months he'd already spent in jail and probation before judgment, meaning he will not have an adult record if he completes 18 months of probation, receives counseling and pays court costs.
Yesterday, the youth's mother told the judge her son didn't get along with his stepfather. "My husband says he's too much like his real father," she said.
"That's a stupid thing to say," Judge Byrnes replied. "You tell him I said so. Who's around who can help this kid?"
Noting that the youth had been a good student, the judge told him, "I don't remember why Caesar crossed the Rubicon, but I remember things I had to do because other people told me to do them. What you're missing is an essential element to be successful in life: discipline.
"The jails are full of people who do what they want to do.
"I'm sure there are things that have occurred in your life that ought not to have occurred and weren't your fault," Judge Byrnes concluded. "But for better or worse, you're going to have to start taking your life in your own hands. If you'll do that, life will be a lot easier."
The 17-year-old was arrested Sept. 9, less than 24 hours after 11 boys overpowered staffers at the Hickey School, took their keys and fled. Although he initially returned to the school, the youth was later charged as an adult with escape and sent to the Baltimore County jail. He had been there since December, said Assistant State's Attorney Steve Roscher.
Coincidentally, the Harford County car-theft charge that landed him at Hickey was dropped soon afterward, Assistant Public Defender Carol Adams told Judge Byrnes.