Guilty plea in teen's death

The Baltimore Sun

On the night of Jan. 28, Robert L. Bragg drove his car around Dundalk with two of his teenage friends, looking for someone - anyone - to beat up, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Yesterday, Bragg pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and accessory to murder after the fact in the death of Joshua Gibson, 16, of Dundalk. Prosecutors say Gibson was randomly selected for a beating and was killed when one of his assailants pulled a gun and shot him in the face and back.

Judge Patrick Cavanaugh will sentence Bragg on Oct. 31.

Prosecutor Jason G. League said at yesterday's hearing in Baltimore County Circuit Court that Bragg, 18, of the 1900 block of Dinenn Drive had discussed carrying out a random beating that night with two friends, Robert L. Wood, 19, of the 1700 block of Meath Road and William R. Ferandes, 17, of the 8100 block of Kavanagh Road.

Wood and Ferandes have been indicted in Gibson's death and are charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, conspiracy and handgun offenses. They are awaiting trial. About 9:30 p.m. on the night of the shooting, League said, Bragg let Wood and Ferandes out of his car at Church and Searles roads near Lynch Cove Park in Dundalk, knowing that they were going to beat up Gibson, who was walking on the street. Ferandes had shown Bragg a gun earlier in the day, League said.

Bragg's attorney, Joseph Lyons, said Bragg did not know that Ferandes still had the gun with him.

Bragg heard three gunshots and started to drive away but stopped to let Wood back into the car, League said. The two teens later met with Ferandes, who had run from the scene, League said. A 16-year-old girl and two adults, Timothy Feuerhardt, 43, and Joanne Feuerhardt, 38, both of the 1900 block of Inverton Road in Dundalk, have been charged with accessory to murder after the fact. They are suspected of helping to cover up details of the shooting. The girl has not been identified because she is a juvenile.

Gibson's mother, aunt and girlfriend said that with six defendants in the case, they expect to spend many mornings in court during the next year.

"It would be nice to get peace of mind. But you can't because every day we come in here it's something we have to relive," said the victim's mother, Michele Gibson.

"It's been six months, and you can't even grieve," said his aunt, Cindy Gibson.

Gibson's mother, aunt and girlfriend of almost two years, Sean Getz, 17, said one of the hardest parts of dealing with his death is having to dodge questions about it from others.

"There are a lot of questions like, 'How could they do this to someone?' and 'What is the world coming to?' And we just have to live with the fact that he's not here anymore," Cindy Gibson said.

Joshua Gibson "would give you the shirt off his back," his aunt said. He was studying for his GED after dropping out of Dundalk High School, family members said, and hoped to get a job working on cars. He was a former Boy Scout who liked to play baseball and football and was a protective big brother to his 13-year-old sister, Taylor, his mother said.

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