Man charged in boy's death released on recognizance

October 23, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore school system police officer accused of fatally shooting a 14-year-old boy outside a Northeast Baltimore elementary school in April was ordered released on his own recognizance during a bail hearing yesterday.

Marlon R. Lynch, 28, of the 3500 block of Woodring Ave. is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Samuel Fitzgerald in the rear yard of Leith Walk Elementary School. Lynch was indicted last week and surrendered to police Monday.

At yesterday's hearing, prosecutor Mark P. Cohen, chief of the homicide division, argued that Lynch should be held on $10,000 bail, but Judge Allen L. Schwait decided Lynch would not be a flight risk before his trial.

"I don't think the judge found him to be a threat to the public," said Rodney Gray, a lawyer representing Lynch yesterday.

The shooting occurred April 6, when Samuel, a freshman at Northern High School, and an unidentified youth were standing behind the school smoking marijuana and drinking about 1 a.m., police said. Lynch, in uniform, encountered them during his routine rounds of city schools.

Lynch was talking to the pair, police said, when a struggle broke out and his service handgun discharged as he tried to take it from his holster. The bullet struck Samuel in the back of the head and the other youth ran away, police said.

Samuel died 13 hours later at Sinai Hospital. Police initially were unable to identify Samuel because he did not have identification and had no criminal record, making a fingerprint match impossible.

Detectives learned his identity two days after the shooting after going through dozens of missing-person reports from the weekend and finding one that had been filed by Samuel's father on the day of the shooting.

Lynch, who was a school police officer for two years, has been placed on leave without pay. The school system will not pay attorney fees in the criminal case, according to one of Lynch's lawyers, Warren A. Brown.

In August 2001, Lynch was charged with second-degree assault in the beating of his girlfriend, Lisa Roberts, a city police officer, court records show.

Lynch was given probation before judgment, including six months of unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service.

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