Teen sentenced to prison for 8 years in shooting


A 17-year-old Annapolis youth has been sentenced to eight years in prison for shooting an Annapolis cab driver in the back of the head during an attempted robbery last March.

James E. Smith of the first block of Bens Drive was sentenced Wednesday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court for assault with intent to maim for shooting Stewart Owens Cole, 44, of the 1600 block of Dorsey Road, Hanover.

On the night of March 29, Mr. Cole picked up the defendant and two other youths near Bay Ridge Gardens apartments and drove them to the Annapolis Roads Apartments. The youths then changed their minds and asked to be driven from the complex.

Mr. Cole, who was driving for the Colonial Cab Co., told police that as he started to pull away one of the youths announced a holdup. Mr. Cole said he thought they were joking and cursed them. At that point, Smith shot him in the back of the head.

The shooting occurred around 9 p.m.

Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone said passers-by stopped to help and called police.

Annapolis police Detective David Garcia was one of those who arrived on the scene. He found Mr. Cole's bloodied cab at the intersection of Tallwood and Edgewood roads in Annapolis, where it had hit a tree, according to court records.

Mr. Cole was treated after the shooting at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Mr. Paone said he has recovered from his wounds and is back on the job.

"He's done remarkably well," Mr. Paone said.

Smith pleaded guilty last month, after Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. ruled that his accomplices, two 15-year-old boys, should be tried in juvenile court.

One of the youths hid the gun under his mattress after the shooting. He has been sent to the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, Mr. Paone said. The other youth was put on probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, he said.

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