Teen-ager guilty in murder-for-hire plot will be monitored by court for two years

Parents' supervision praised by judge

April 14, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Juvenile Court judge decided yesterday to monitor the Millersville teen-ager convicted of offering to pay an Old Mill Senior High School classmate to kill another student, but he declined to rule the 15-year-old a delinquent in need of the services of juvenile authorities.

Anne Arundel County Juvenile Master James McCarthy said anything juvenile authorities would have done "has been done and initiated by the parents" who closely supervise the teen-ager.

McCarthy ordered the youth, a special education student receiving psychological and psychiatric help, to continue in therapy while McCarthy keeps tabs on the case for two years. The first review hearing will be held in two months.

The youth, whose communication and emotional skills are at about a fourth-grade level although he is in 10th grade, sat stiffly during the hearing, rising to apologize.

"I never really meant to hurt anyone," he said.

He told McCarthy he has learned to better control his anger and speech, and wants to focus on achieving the Eagle Scout rank and on a future that includes a welding career.

At a hearing in February, the youth admitted that prosecutors had the evidence to convict him but did not admit committing the crime, a form of guilty plea.

The Sun does not identify youths when charges against them are heard in Juvenile Court.

The youth's mother, a laboratory technician, said the outcome was a relief and an acknowledgment that she and her husband took the right steps during a stressful year devoted to helping their only child.

"I stayed home from work for a while. You do what you have to do. It is amazing what a crisis in your life tells you about what your priorities in life are. Going to work is not as important as your child," she said.

She said her son, described by social workers last year as good-natured and naive, tried to make the best of it. Stress and anxiety were evidenced by his stomachaches and sleepless nights, she said.

"He has probably survived this better than his parents," she said.

The boy's father is a teacher.

Defense lawyer Stephen Bourexis said the school system failed to place his client in a setting to match the special education plan tailored to the youth's disabilities.

State education officials found the school system out of compliance last year with the education plan. County school officials did not return phone calls yesterday.

The teen-ager is in a different high school this year and attends a technical school. His mother praised both.

Bourexis asked McCarthy to close the case without making a ruling. Assistant State's Attorney Michael Bergeson, who sought court supervision for the teen-ager, said he was pleased that McCarthy agreed to monitor the case.

In March 1998, the Millersville teen-ager was one of two arrested in a murder-for-hire plot.

No one was hurt.

On March 26, 1998, the youth was annoyed by a classmate who interrupted and asked loud questions in his ninth-grade class and offered another student on a school bus $100 to kill the classmate. The student he asked wanted $500 and threatened to tell the principal if his demands weren't met. His mother told school officials, who called police.

Another juvenile master placed that student on probation last year.

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