Home detention ordered for boy in suicide case

Teen will be monitored, must seek drug treatment

March 25, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The teen-ager who became the first person accused of breaking Maryland's law banning assisted suicide was ordered into home detention at his mother's Crofton house yesterday after therapists told an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge that the boy no longer needed confinement at a state psychiatric hospital.

County prosecutors, Department of Juvenile Justice officials and the 16-year-old's attorneys agreed that the boy need no longer be held at Crownsville Hospital Center, where he was placed shortly after his arrest Feb. 29.

There was no recommendation that he be sent to a state-run juvenile facility.

Charged as juvenile

The youth is charged as a juvenile in connection with the death Oct. 18 of Jennifer Garvey, 15, whom he had dated for about five months when both attended Arundel Senior High School.

Police think he brought his stepfather's handgun to a Crofton storm sewer hangout known as the Underworld, where the young couple had planned to carry out a suicide pact. After she shot herself in the head, he fled, police said.

He is also accused of a handgun violation and reckless endangerment. He must return to court in three weeks for a review hearing. No trial date has been set.

`Proceed with caution'

"I certainly proceed with caution in this case," said Judge Pamela L. North. "Relying on the expert opinions, I will return him to his home on electronic monitoring."

Experts told North that the youth, who when he was arrested was considered suicidal and has a history of psychological problems, did not pose a danger to himself or others.

Garvey's family declined to comment yesterday on the youth's release.

North placed other restrictions on the teen-ager, including ordering him to continue taking psychiatric medications and requiring that he enter a drug treatment program.

The boy will be allowed to return to school. Public school officials are to meet with the family next week.

The assisted-suicide law took effect about two weeks before Garvey's death. For a juvenile, the penalty is different. A judge can place a youth under supervision until he is 21, place him into a juvenile facility or treatment center, or release him with conditions.

Change in law sought

An attempt to change the law so that it applies only to adults failed in the current General Assembly session.

When the boy was detained last month, officials said his history included three psychiatric hospitalizations, illegal drug use and threat of suicide.

Davis said she had not decided whether to appeal North's ruling on leaving the courtroom open to the public.

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