Cabbie shooting suspects to be tried as juveniles

August 23, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel Circuit judge ruled yesterday that two youths charged in the shooting of an Annapolis taxi driver during a robbery attempt last March should be tried in juvenile court.

Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. ruled that the two 15-year-old Annapolis boys should be tried in juvenile court rather than in Circuit Court.

Both youths had been charged with attempted murder in the March 28 shooting of Stewart Owens Cole, 44, of 1600 block of Dorsey Road, Hanover.

The alleged trigger man in the offense, James E. Smith, 17, of the first block of Bens Drive, remains charged as an adult with first-degree attempted murder. His Circuit Court trial is pending.

Judge Thieme yesterday agreed with recommendations by Juvenile Services Administration case workers, who said in separate reports that both youths were treatable and that their cases should be tried in juvenile courts.

An attempted murder conviction would have carried a maximum life sentence. In the juvenile system, the youths may be incarcerated only until they reach age 21.

Police said Mr. Cole picked up three youths in his cab near Bay Ridge Gardens apartments on March 28 and drove them to Annapolis Roads Apartments. The youths then changed their minds and asked to be driven from the complex, police said.

Mr. Cole, who was driving for the Colonial Cab Co., told police that as he started to pull away, one of the youths announced a holdup.

Mr. Cole said he thought they were joking and cursed them. One of the youths then shot him in the back of the head, Mr. Cole told police.

In arguments yesterday, Mr. Paone said that one youth's juvenile record, along with the violent nature of the offense and his involvement in it, were sufficient reasons for him to be tried as an adult.

Mr. Paone acknowledged that the boy was not the trigger man but said that police found the handgun used in the shooting under a mattress at his home.

At the time of the shooting, the youth had been on probation for being delinquent of battery for stabbing a teacher about a year ago at Annapolis Middle School, Mr. Paone said.

"He hasn't acted like a juvenile in quite some time," Mr. Paone argued.

But the judge disagreed, saying that neither youth has yet to be provided with the kind of residential treatment recommended by Juvenile Services Administration investigators in their reports.

"If we don't waive [the one youth] out [of adult court], we're just condemning him. We might as well just put him on the scrap heap," Judge Thieme said.

Mr. Cole, was who was treated after the shooting at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, has recovered from his wounds and is back on the job, Mr. Paone said.

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