Hearing held for teen charged in girl's suicide

Crofton boy's mother seeks court-supplied lawyer

March 07, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

The 16-year-old Crofton youth charged with assisting the suicide of his girlfriend made an appearance yesterday in Juvenile Court, where much of the 10-minute hearing focused on his lack of a lawyer.

The teen-ager, who is being detained at the state's Crownsville Hospital Center, was read the juvenile charges against him -- which include assisting a suicide, possession of a handgun and reckless endangerment -- and was advised of his right to an attorney.

His mother, who stood with him in court, asked the court's juvenile master to appoint a public defender to represent him at the trial, scheduled for March 24. The mother was told that because she has a full-time job, she would probably not qualify for free representation and would be billed for the attorney's work.

"Then he'll have no lawyer, because I don't have the means," she said.

Courthouse sources have been speculating whether a local lawyer would step forward to offer services without fee for the much-publicized case.

The teen-ager was charged last week under the Maryland law banning assisted suicide -- a measure enacted by the legislature with assisted-suicide specialist Dr. Jack Kevorkian in mind. The juvenile case will be the first test of Maryland's law.

According to investigators, the teen-ager supplied his stepfather's handgun Oct. 18, when his girlfriend, Jennifer Garvey, 15, died of a self-inflicted head wound in a cavern-like storm sewer in Crofton known by teens as "the underworld."

They watched as the charges were read against the boy, who replied that he understood the charges and potential sentence, which could range from probation to confinement at a juvenile institution until his 21st birthday.

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