Bail set in Carroll assault case

17-year-old to be tried as an adult

accused of racial harassment

February 02, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County high school senior remained in jail yesterday on 15 charges stemming from two incidents in Eldersburg last month in which he is accused of pointing a loaded shotgun and using racial slurs.

At a bail review hearing yesterday, District Judge JoAnn Ellinghaus-Jones kept bail for Lee Edward Hensley, 17, of the 500 block of Old Baltimore St. in Westminster at $100,000 - $50,000 in each case. He is charged as an adult with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, possessing a deadly weapon with intent to injure and racial harassment.

"I'm not happy about keeping juveniles in the detention center," Ellinghaus-Jones said, noting the seriousness of the charges and their number, calling them "extremely frightening."

The first incident occurred early New Year's Day on Montclaire Drive in Eldersburg, according to the court documents and authorities. While a girl was talking to two youths who pulled up in a car, Henley left the house where he was visiting, took a black shotgun from the trunk of a car and loaded it, according to the charging documents. He fired one shot into the air, approached the vehicle and aimed at the passenger's head as if preparing to fire, then fired another shot into the air as they drove away, the documents say.

He also swore at them and used a racial epithet, according to the charging documents. The incident was reported to the police after one of the youths told his mother that he was afraid to return to school.

The second incident occurred about 10 p.m. Jan. 19 on Abraham Court in Eldersburg. According to the charging documents, Hensley brandished a loaded shotgun at close range at a young black man who was visiting friends at the home of Hensley's girlfriend.

The victim pushed the gun away, a fistfight began, and Hensley fled, according to the documents. Hensley was arrested, and the shotgun was found in his vehicle in the 6600 block of Martin Ave. in Sykesville, police said. The arresting officer said Hensley swore and used a racial epithet.

Hensley has been an inmate at the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster since the second incident, authorities said. Police obtained an arrest warrant in the first incident, which was served Thursday.

"The facts of this case are extremely disturbing facts," said Assistant State's Attorney Maria L. Oesterreicher, arguing against lower bail.

Assistant Public Defender Robert L. Frank sought to have Hensley placed on home detention so he could finish his senior year at Liberty High School in Eldersburg and continue his job loading hay for a farmer.

Hensley, whose mother died when he was 2, lives with an aunt. Frank said Hensley takes medication and was drinking at the time of the offenses.

"Alcohol was involved in both of these instances," he told the judge. "This young gentleman was acting out, but not acting violently toward any individual," despite the inappropriate remarks, Frank said.

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