The young man accused of fracturing a Cape St. Claire teen's skull during a beating last Friday appealed to be let out of jail yesterday but instead remained behind bars on $2 million bail.
"I'm not some raving lunatic that's a menace to society," said Vermon Tonez Ragsdale, 18, speaking softly into a microphone at District Court in Annapolis.
"I can honestly say I didn't attack that boy. It was more like self-defense," said Mr. Ragsdale, who was not represented by an attorney.
Mr. Ragsdale, of the 600 block of Wayward Drive in Rolling Knoll, has been charged with assault with intent to murder in the attack on Jason Ford, 17.
Young Ford received a fractured skull that caused blood to form around the membrane of the brain. He also suffered chipped teeth and multiple fractures to his right eye socket and the right side of his nose. He remains in fair condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Yesterday, Mr. Ragsdale, who has no prior criminal record, said, "I only touched him once."
Assistant State's Attorney William Katcef told Judge Joseph Manck that Mr. Ragsdale was a danger to the community. He urged Judge Manck to continue to hold Mr. Ragsdale with bail.
"This incident involved the savage and senseless beating committed by a vicious and determined attacker," Mr. Katcef said. "Mr. Ragsdale was absolutely determined to see that his victim was beaten to the point that he was almost dead."
Judge Manck said that if half of what was in the charging document was true, Mr. Ragsdale was indeed a danger to the community. The judge then ordered that bail remain at $2 million.
According to District Court charging documents, most of the blows that struck the Ford youth were delivered after he fell unconscious in front of the Cape St. Claire firehouse.
Police said witnesses told them a man by the nickname of "Tony Blunt" was responsible for the beating, which occurred about 11 p.m. Friday. The witnesses also said "Tony Blunt" often went to the Annapolis Mall. County police talked to mall security officers, who said they would call police when the man showed up, court papers said.
About 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, security officers saw the suspect and called police. They kept him under surveillance until officers arrived to make the arrest.
The motive for the beating is still not clear, police said.
Charging documents said the Ford youth was talking to some friends on the parking lot of the Cape St. Claire Shopping Center when a Dodge Caravan pulled up.
The suspect and two other youths got out of the van, and one of the youths got into an argument with young Ford. Police do not know why the two youths argued. A second youth stepped up and slapped young Ford, who ran away.
The suspect and the two youths chased young Ford across the street and caught him in front of the firehouse, where the suspect allegedly punched him in the head, according to court papers.
When young Ford fell to the ground, the suspect hit him several more times, police said.