Arundel girl's high school records are to be reviewed in her suicide

April 18, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

School records of 15-year-old Jennifer Garvey, who committed suicide in October, may play a role in the trial of her boyfriend -- a Crofton teen-ager who is the first person charged under Maryland's law banning assisted suicide.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Pamela L. North agreed at a court hearing yesterday to a private review of Garvey's Arundel Senior High School records.

Her decision came after defense lawyers said school records may contain information on Garvey's feelings about suicide, her relationship with her boyfriend and whether -- as prosecutors say -- her school performance suffered after she began dating him in May.

The records, which the judge will review with attorneys from both sides, may help the boy's lawyers plan a defense for the juvenile trial scheduled to begin May 25.

Assistant Public Defender William Davis said in court he is looking into an insanity plea -- the boy has a history of psychiatric hospitalizations -- and whether Garvey, not his client, had taken the lead in what has been called a suicide pact that ended with her death in the Crofton storm drains known to teen-agers as the Underworld.

Garvey had previously attempted suicide and was receiving psychiatric treatment at the time of her death.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Bergeson opposed opening the confidential school records, arguing that Garvey's thoughts and past were irrelevant to whether the boy gave her the gun and participated in the suicide.

But Davis said that, contrary to what police and prosecutors contend, it was Garvey who was in control of the relationship and took the lead in making and carrying out suicide plans.

Police say that after the pair made a suicide pact, the boy took his stepfather's gun -- the weapon alleged to have been provided to the girl and used to commit suicide.

After she shot herself in the head, authorities allege, the boyfriend fled.

The boy, now 16, is not being named by The Sun because he is a juvenile.

He is accused of assisting her suicide, a handgun violation and reckless endangerment.

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