A 10-year-old boy charged with murder in the shotgun slaying of his best friend had a smile on his face after walking out of a juvenile court hearing yesterday.
But no one connected with the case would speak about the closed-door hearing.
After presiding over the hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court, Judge David B. Mitchell said, "All I will say is that in juvenile matters, it's not only the law that controls, it's the needs of the family and the children and the victim."
The judge, who reversed a decision yesterday to open the hearing to the news media, said little more. Those involved said they'd been ordered to remain silent about the hearing.
The boy was arrested and charged as a juvenile with first-degree murder in December, after police said he shot 10-year-old William Munford Jr. with a sawed-off shotgun found in an alley in the
boys' Lower Park Heights neighborhood. Although police said the boy intentionally shot his friend during an quarrel, relatives of both the victim and the accused insisted the shooting was an accident.
On his initial court appearance Dec. 22, the boy was ordered held while awaiting trial in juvenile court. However, he was
released to the custody of his family a week later.
Early yesterday, reporters gathered in the courtroom were given a copy of an order signed by Judge Mitchell that said the hearing would be open to the media so long as reports simply identified the accused as "Darryl G."
The boy's lawyer, William H. Murphy Jr., objected to reporters being present and asked for a closed hearing. Soon after, Judge Mitchell's clerk said he had ordered the hearing closed after hearing concerns raised by one of the families in the case.