A 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing his mother's boyfriend to death in Dundalk over the weekend was ordered released from the Baltimore County detention center Monday.
At a bail review hearing in District Court in Towson, both a defense attorney for David Paul Thomas and a county prosecutor said the boyfriend, 35-year-old Richard William Zenobia, was the "aggressor" in a fight between the two on Saturday evening.
Judge Leo Ryan Jr. noted that Thomas had no prior criminal record and ordered him released on his own recognizance.
Police say they found Zenobia unconscious with stab wounds in the back yard of the home he shared with his girlfriend in the 3300 block of North Point Road. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators say Zenobia and Thomas' mother argued, and Thomas stabbed Zenobia multiple times. Thomas was arrested and charged as an adult with one count of manslaughter. Police wrote in charging documents that the mother told them Zenobia punched her son.
Thomas' lawyer said in court that the 16-year-old "came to the aid of his mother and then himself."
Attorney Richard Karceski said Zenobia punched the teenager and then straddled him.
"Mr. Thomas was not the aggressor," Karceski said. "He defended himself."
The teen attends Aberdeen High School and works at a pizzeria, Karceski said. He said Thomas received the knife "as a post-Christmas gift."
Karceski said after the hearing that Thomas does not live at the Dundalk home but was with his mother that day.
Assistant State's Attorney Garret Glennon told the judge that "this is a very unique situation."
He said the state was requesting that Thomas remain on no-bail status. He asked for home detention in which Thomas would be monitored by GPS.
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Ryan did not order such monitoring. Glennon and Karceski both told the judge they do not believe the teen poses a danger to the larger community.
Thomas, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, appeared from the detention center via closed-circuit television as his mother, grandmother and other family members watched in the courtroom.
Some of the family members hugged each other as the judge ordered Thomas to be released.
They did not comment to reporters while leaving court.
"It's a very sad case all around," Karceski said outside the courthouse. "It goes to show you when arguments spring forth and people get out of control, bad things can happen."