Teen accused of creating hit list to be tried as adult in shooting

Eastern Tech teachers, students named, police say

February 14, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 16-year-old youth who police say compiled a "hit list" of students and teachers at Eastern Technical High School will be tried as an adult on charges that he tried to shoot a student whose name was on the list.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Christian M. Kahl ruled yesterday that Emmanuel Seth Covington of the 100 block of Alberge Lane in Chase should be tried on two counts of attempted murder in a drive-by shooting near the home of one of the alleged targets.

Assistant State's Attorney James O. Gentry Jr. told Kahl that Covington prepared a hit list of students and teachers at the Essex school last spring. He promised friends he would kill everyone on the list, and in June tried to shoot the student whose name appeared first, Gentry said.

"He kept that promise because the first person on that list was the intended victim in this case," Gentry told Kahl.

Covington was charged June 29 by county police with firing shots into a garage on the 10600 block of Bird River Road in Middle River where the alleged target frequently played pool, court records show.

James D. Bass and a friend, Thomas Ross Sr., were playing pool in Bass' garage about 11 p.m. when the shooting occurred, according to a statement of charges filed by police.

Detectives focused on Covington when Bass told them that his son, Ryan Bass, attended school with Covington, was on the hit list and spent many nights in the garage shooting pool, according to the statement.

Assistant Public Defender Jerri Peyton-Braden, Covington's lawyer, argued that her client should be tried as a juvenile because of his age and because the juvenile justice system is better equipped to rehabilitate him.

Peyton-Brayden told Kahl that the shots were fired 100 yards from the garage, and that no one was hurt. State juvenile authorities also recommended that Covington be tried as a juvenile, she said.

Gentry said that Covington was charged as a juvenile last spring when police learned about the hit list. He was expelled from school, and the juvenile case was pending when the shooting occurred, Gentry said.

Charles Herndon, a spokesman for county schools, said school officials had immediately passed along reports of the list to police.

Herndon said Covington had been expelled March 26 -- before reports of the list surfaced -- because of disciplinary problems "unrelated to the hit list." He declined to elaborate, noting confidentiality rules governing student disciplinary records.

But Gentry told Kahl that Covington "may have carried through with his plan" if the driver of the Acura Legend in which he was riding the night of the shooting had not come forward.

The driver, a 17-year-old Middle River youth, is scheduled to be tried on attempted murder charges March 5 in juvenile court.

Witnesses have told police that Covington had eight names on the list, and that Bass' name might have been on it because Covington saw him talking to a girl he liked, court records show.

But Peyton-Brayden said after the hearing that prosecutors might have a difficult time convincing a judge or jury that Covington had a list.

"You have to take that kind of thing with a grain of salt," she said.

The trial is scheduled for April 10.

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