Teen held in killings let go in youth case

Juvenile authorities unaware of gun charge

February 05, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Three days before police charge that a 17-year-old youth killed an East Baltimore man, the teen-ager was sent home from Juvenile Court, with prosecutors unaware he had recently been charged as an adult with a gun crime.

Prosecutors said yesterday that they would have urged a judge to detain Tyrone Beane if they had known he had recently been charged with beating a man with a handgun and sticking the weapon in his mouth.

"If we had that information, we would have brought it to the court's attention and argued that he be detained," said Joyce Wright, head of the juvenile division at the state's attorney's office.

FOR THE RECORD - Because a wrong name was supplied by the District Court of Maryland in Baltimore, The Sun on Feb. 5 misidentified the judge who granted bail to Tyrone Beane, a 17-year-old charged as an adult with beating a man with a handgun. Circuit Judge Richard T. Rombro, sitting in District Court, granted the bail, not Judge Timothy J. Doory.
The Sun regrets the error.

Beane, dubbed Baltimore's "most wanted" fugitive by police, was arrested Saturday and charged in two homicides. He was ordered held without bail yesterday by a District Court judge.

His case highlights a chasm between officials in juvenile and adult court, Wright and other officials said.

Counselors with the Department of Juvenile Justice attended a routine hearing Jan. 14 in Beane's case, officials said. But counselors do not have access to adult court records and were unaware that Beane had been charged with assault and handgun possession and released on bail, officials said.

"Unless a youth self-reports that he has been charged as an adult, we do not have access to that information," said Lee Towers, spokesman for the Department of Juvenile Justice, who declined to discuss specifics of Beane's case or acknowledge that the teen faces juvenile charges.

Wright said prosecutors did not check the records because they are too "overwhelmed" by more than 8,000 juvenile cases filed annually. "It's just impossible," she said.

Though only 17, Beane has a lengthy arrest record for serious crimes and has been a victim, too. In April, he was shot outside his East Baltimore home and suffers digestive problems stemming from his wounds, police said. A 22-year- old man was arrested, but prosecutors dropped charges against him in November.

Beane has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Taharka McCoy, 25, on Jan. 17, and with first-degree murder in the death of Christopher Smith, 17, in a double shooting July 25. Both killings occurred in East Baltimore while Beane was supposed to remain near his house with an electronic monitor on orders from a judge in juvenile court, law enforcement officials said.

Beane's brushes with adult court began in November 2000, when he was charged as an adult with assault and drug possession. He was accused of kicking a couple out of their apartment, "stomping" the wife and selling drugs from their home, police said.

Five months later, he was charged with handgun possession. In May, prosecutors dropped the gun charge because the weapon did not work. They dropped the assault and drug charges because they should never have been filed in criminal court. Beane was too young at the time of the offense to face adult charges.

The day after dropping those charges, prosecutors and police refiled them in Juvenile Court and immediately sought a waiver from a judge to allow them to bring them again in adult court.

But hearings have been postponed five times since the first court date, and Beane had been ordered held on "community detention" with an electronic monitor, officials said. Prosecutors declined to discuss why the hearings were postponed. Circuit Judge David W. Young, who oversaw the case, declined to comment yesterday.

While on juvenile detention, Beane was charged Dec. 31 as an adult in the case in which police say an East Baltimore man was struck on the head with a handgun and then had it jammed into his mouth, police said.

Beane was released then by District Judge Timothy J. Doory on $50,000 bail, court records show.

It is unclear whether Doory knew that Beane was facing juvenile charges and was on community detention. Doory said last night he could not recall the case. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors said he likely did not have access to Beane's juvenile record.

A family member at Beane's home in the 700 block of Wharton Court declined to comment.

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