Prosecutors want boy tried in adult court

The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County prosecutors said yesterday that they will seek to move the juvenile court case against a 15-year-old Glen Burnie boy accused of killing a man with an aluminum baseball bat back to adult court, where he would face stiffer penalties.

During a hearing in which prosecutors revealed new details about the attack and the boy's juvenile record, Anne Arundel Circuit Judge William C. Mulford II ordered that Christian J. Schellenschlager Jr. be held at a juvenile detention facility. The Glen Burnie High School sophomore was charged as an adult last month with first-degree murder, but when a grand jury on Friday declined to return an indictment, the case was dropped and Schellenschlager was charged as a juvenile with second-degree murder.

Prosecutors and a juvenile counselor described Schellenschlager yesterday as a troubled boy and a threat to the community. State's Attorney Brian Marsh said the teen had run away from home three times since 2004 and twice had been evaluated after making suicidal comments. Before his arrest, Schellenschlager had twice been charged as a juvenile with assault, including one incident that allegedly took place in front of a police officer.

Police say Schellenschlager was among a group of youths who got into an argument with Brian Michael Myers, 49, on April 29. Schellenschlager allegedly left the scene and retrieved a baseball bat, concealing it by his side and ducking behind parked cars before striking Myers once in the head, prosecutors said yesterday.

Myers, described as an alcoholic who had been arrested more than 50 times, went into a coma and died two weeks later.

Prosecutors said that the boy's younger brother and another friend had each urged Schellenschlager not to hit the man. One of the friends also told police that the teens were "messing" with the man and "having fun," according to Marsh.

Schellenschlager's defense attorney, Peter S. O'Neill, sharply criticized that account of the crime, saying that in his interviews with the boys, they described feeling threatened by a man who was drunk and making menacing comments. They believed he had a weapon and said he made comments about being a murderer.

"There is ample evidence that my client was acting in self-defense or in defense of others that were there," O'Neill said.

He also rejected the notion that the boy was the "flight risk" that prosecutors described and asked Mulford to place him on house arrest. "He is 15. He has no money. He has no place to go," he said.

At one point in the hearing, Mulford admonished the boy - who was wearing low-slung, baggy pants and a white T-shirt - for slouching in his chair.

"I hope we're not interfering with your relaxation," Mulford said. "Would you like to put your feet up?"

Schellenschlager's case was heard yesterday in juvenile court, as a defendant must be at least 16 years old to be charged as an adult with second-degree murder.

If found guilty - or delinquent - in juvenile court, he would be held in a juvenile facility or remain on probation until he turns 21. If convicted in adult court, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison.

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