Prosecutors have added a manslaughter charge against the 15-year-old Frederick resident arrested last month after a fatal assault at The Great Frederick Fair.
Prosecutor Laura Wilt, with the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, said at a hearing Monday that her office filed the manslaughter charge, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault against the 15-year-old. His 16-year-old brother has been charged with two counts of second-degree assault.
The 15-year-old punched 59-year-old Mount Airy resident John Weed and knocked him to the ground, said Will Cockey, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office. The 16-year-old was charged with two counts of second-degree assault, one for an initial punch to the back of the head, the other for spitting on Weed as he was on the ground, Cockey said.
Frederick County Circuit Judge Julie Stevenson Solt ordered that both brothers remain in juvenile detention, and approved Wilt’s request to have a juvenile petition and waiver hearing Nov. 19. That could determine whether one or both brothers should be waived into the adult criminal justice system, something Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith previously said his office would explore.
On Monday, the third-floor courtroom was crowded with both relatives and friends of the two brothers and Weed. The two brothers entered separately, and stood silently as their attorneys argued they should be released and stay with family or friends outside the county, as they were not a threat to public safety.
But Solt ruled in favor of Wilt and the state’s attorney’s office, saying that the brothers would remain in juvenile detention. A different judge will preside over each case, she said.
“The allegations are quite serious,” Solt said as part of her reasoning.
Wilt said after Monday’s hearing that a decision on whether the two brothers would be waived into the adult judicial system could come by the end of November. She said that filing the waiver will involve an investigation into the teens’ past, including any possible criminal record.
Smith said at a press conference Monday that the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation is complete, and no further charges would be filed by his office.
He again detailed the events that preceded the assaults, including that both brothers had asked Weed for a dollar before they allegedly punched him. The second-degree assault involving the 16-year-old’s punch was a “separate physical incident with the victim” than the second punch his 15-year-old brother threw, Smith said.
When asked whether Weed used the “N-word” before the assault, Smith said he could not comment on the sheriff’s office’s investigation.
Because of Monday’s status hearing, the trial date scheduled for Tuesday has been removed from the docket, Smith said. The state Department of Juvenile Services will investigate and submit a report to the state’s attorney’s office, defense lawyers and the judges.
The findings in that report is what the prosecution and defense will argue regarding whether the brothers should be tried as adults, Smith said.
That petition for waiver hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 9 a.m.