Judge boosts bail in Jeep case

Three teens charged with manslaughter in fatal apartment crash

February 16, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County District Court judge increased the bail yesterday for a man charged in the death of a Cockeysville woman who was killed when an unoccupied Jeep crashed into her apartment.

Judge Alexandra Williams raised the bail for David Jason Myers, 19, of the 9000 block of Waltham Woods Road, Parkville, from $350,000 to $500,000. In doing so, Williams pointed to court documents indicating Myers' direct role in pushing the Jeep over a curb and sending it careening down a grassy embankment and crashing through an apartment wall early Tuesday.

The occupant of the apartment, Melanie Wentz, 28, a public relations manager with the Baltimore Zoo, was killed after being trapped "beneath debris and the Jeep itself," court documents show.

Myers, who did not appear with an attorney, has been charged with manslaughter. A conviction for manslaughter carries a 10-year prison term.

Williams also refused to reduce the $200,000 bail set for Anton F. Marx Jr., 18, of the 1800 block of Redwood Ave., Parkville, who has also been charged with manslaughter. Marx's attorney, David J. Preller Jr., argued that his client was 75 feet away from the Jeep when it was pushed down the hill.

"He should not have been anywhere near this vehicle," Preller said. "He should not have been anywhere near these men."

A 16-year-old has been charged with manslaughter in the death and is being held at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School. Myers and the youth have confessed to pushing the Jeep down the hill, court documents show.

Preller showed the judge eight family members and friends in the courtroom who he said would provide support for Marx if he were released. Williams, however, denied the bail reduction, noting widespread publicity over the case.

Outside the courtroom, Marx's relatives described him as a good person who got mixed up with a bad bunch in recent months. Court documents accuse the three of breaking into vehicles in the Cockeysville, Towson, Parkville and White Marsh areas of Baltimore County.

The documents stated that "in several instances, the suspects were releasing the parking brakes to the targeted vehicles and sending them aimlessly into anything in their path."

Marx's relatives said they couldn't understand his involvement in the incidents because he had never been in trouble.

"He wasn't raised like this," said Bill McNamee, Marx's grandfather. "When he decided to get in trouble, he skipped the preliminaries."

Joining the family was the Rev. Guenter Schwab, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, where Marx was once an acolyte.

"He was a very decent boy who participated, so this was kind of a surprise," Schwab said.

Preller told the judge that Marx, who was brought up by his great-grandmother, planned to attend Frostburg State University last fall but wanted to get work experience. He took a job as a loan officer with Allied Mortgage Capital Corp. in Nottingham.

"Actually, he's a really good kid," said Kevin Spurrier, operations manager for Allied Mortgage. "He had a pretty good opportunity with us, an opportunity that 18-year-old kids don't get. I just can't believe it."

Marx and Myers remained at the Baltimore County Detention Center last night.

Word of their arrests stunned the administration at Loch Raven High School, where Myers and Marx graduated. School officials said police visited the school on Thursday with a composite sketch of a suspect.

"It's like somebody kicked me in the stomach," said Principal Keith Harmeyer. "It's awful."

A review of school yearbooks showed Marx played football for four years, played baseball and belonged to Future Business Leaders of America. Myers had no activities listed next to his name.

Little is known about Myers. At the Kenilworth at Perring Park apartment complex yesterday, two maintenance men said Myers had moved into his second-floor apartment two or three months ago. The men were changing the locks yesterday to prevent anyone from entering, they said.

Since Myers' arrest, they said, a man claiming to be his brother and a woman claiming to be his girlfriend removed furniture from the apartment, leaving only a chair and spoiling food.

During yesterday's bail review, four people showed up to support Myers but declined to comment afterward. During his bail hearing Thursday night, Myers listed the telephone number of a construction company where he had been working. A woman who answered the phone yesterday declined to identify herself or her company.

Sun staff writers Stephanie Desmon and Joan Jacobson contributed to this article.

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