Torment spurred killing, boy quoted Teen accused in school slaying

June 02, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

PHILADELPHIA -- Jason Michael Smith told police that he had decided to kill Upper Perkiomen High School classmate Michael Swann "because he punches me and kicks me and makes me" look bad.

But Michael Swann wasn't the only one the 10th grader wanted to "take out."

"It was not just him," young Smith said in a statement he gave to police just hours after he shot the Swann youth, 16, during biology class May 24. "I was thinking of other people too. . . . Just random people who give me trouble.

"I figured I could walk into the lunch room and basically kill everybody -- or blow up the school. I just hate being pushed around," he told police.

The statement by young Smith, 15, was read into the record at a preliminary hearing before Montgomery County District Justice Catherine M. Hummel yesterday.

At the close of the hearing -- played out before his parents, a contingent of 20 students and an overflow gallery -- Jason Michael Smith was held over for trial on murder charges in Montgomery County Court. No trial date was set.

A defense team of three Philadelphia lawyers, who replaced a court-appointed lawyer named for the Smith youth last week, served notice before Justice Hummel of an intention to oppose District Attorney Michael D. Marino's plan to try the teen-ager as an adult.

"A 15-year-old, 5-4 kid can receive much more equitable treatment in the juvenile system than to go away to a system of repeat offenders," added colleague Thomas Quinn, also a former Philadelphia assistant district attorney. "We are interested in getting the boy treatment as opposed to a rehabilitative situation."

The boy's statement, made to police in the presence of his mother, Barbara, offered grisly details of the scene that confronted his classmates after they dived for cover to escape the outburst of gunfire.

It demonstrated how troubled young Smith had become over being picked on by other teens because "they think it's fun" -- and how he had planned the shooting after young Swann "kicked a desk out from under me" May 20.

He told police he finally had decided to shoot only the Swann youth "because he was the one giving me trouble this year."

"I'd say, 'Knock it off,' and he would just walk away and laugh," young Smith said. ". . . He'd leave black-and-blue marks on my arms and legs and sometimes on my chest."

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