Juvenile master voids plea agreement

Boy accused of injuring woman with rock

January 19, 2000|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A juvenile master threw out a plea agreement yesterday reached in the case against a 16-year-old accused of tossing a rock at a van and striking a Sun delivery woman on the head last August.

The Columbia boy, whose name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, was given another court date this month. The juvenile master, Bernard A. Raum, said he refused to accept the deal because the teen's defense attorney and prosecutors appeared to disagree over the facts of the case.

"I refuse the plea," Raum said as he ripped up the paper outlining the agreement. "The parties are not agreed."

After the boy had pleaded guilty yesterday to three counts of reckless endangerment as part of a deal with prosecutors, Assistant State's Attorney Cindy L. Johnson read the facts of the case. She said the boy told police that he had thrown a "baseball-sized" rock at a street sign and heard a "thud" early on Aug. 26.

Johnson did not say whether other people also were throwing rocks. After she finished, the defense attorney objected, saying the facts did not indicate his client hit Lynn McKissic with a rock that day.

"There was no admission that his rock hit her or that he intended to hit her," said Robert L. Lombardo, who added that others were involved.

Raum then threw out the deal, under which prosecutors would have dropped charges of assault, malicious destruction of property and throwing a rock at a car.

McKissic was delivering newspapers in Columbia early Aug. 26 with her two young children, who were sitting in the back of her van.

McKissic said she suddenly felt hot and noticed blood on her after being struck by a rock, Johnson said. Her two children took control of the van and drove it it to a nearby gas station.

McKissic suffered injuries to her head and eyes, and she has problems with her sight, Johnson said.

Police officers were able to track down the suspect using a confidential informant, Johnson said, and questioned the 16-year-old boy at his home.

The boy told the officer that he threw a rock at a street sign that morning and heard a thud, Johnson said. He thought the rock had missed the van, Johnson said, and hit the other side of the street. The boy was arrested and charged.

McKissic, who attended the hearing, said she was upset that the boy did not admit his role.

"I just want him to know what he did," McKissic said. "He doesn't seem to care."

The rock-throwing injury was the second in Howard County in the past two years. In October 1998, a 13-year-old boy was seriously injured when a grapefruit-size stone went through the window of a minivan in which he was a passenger and struck him in the head.

One man pleaded guilty in the case and another was convicted in November 1999. They are scheduled to be sentenced next month. Four juvenile boys who were involved in the incident were sentenced to probation and community service.

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