Teen guilty in beating of teacher

Plea entered in attack by group in Cockeysville

September 21, 2000|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 17-year-old Owings Mills youth pleaded guilty to first-degree assault yesterday for his role in the attack June 18 on a Hereford Middle School teacher who was beaten unconscious near his Cockeysville apartment.

Roy G. Higgs of the 100 block of Wilgate Road is one of four defendants charged in the beating of Jason Barnett, who suffered a fractured jaw and broken facial bones when he was attacked at Foxfire Place and Old Providence Way.

Assistant State's Attorney James O. Gentry said he would request a sentence of 10 to 18 years when Higgs is sentenced Dec. 5 by Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr.

Barnett, 25, and two friends left a friend's apartment and walked past four males, one of whom asked Barnett if he had cigarettes, charging documents said. Barnett said no, and the four followed the group and attacked Barnett and another man, knocking them to the ground, the documents said.

Jeffrey David Gilbert escaped, but the group beat Barnett on the face and head, pummeling him after he lost consciousness.

Barnett, who teaches agriculture science at Hereford Middle School, was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in critical condition. He was unable to talk because of injuries, police said.

The defendants acknowledged roles in the attack, said it was unprovoked, and they didn't know the victims, prosecutors said.

Barnett said this week he has been able to return to teaching, but that he has not fully recovered. Recently, he underwent one surgical procedure and will have to undergo others to repair his jaw.

Three defendants are charged with attempted murder. Franklin J. Medina, 16, of no fixed address and Daniel John Leksen, 18, of Cockeysville are to be tried Oct. 5. Trial date for Jimmy W. Zentz, 20, of no fixed address is Dec. 5.

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