Girl, 17, critically injured in beating

Lansdowne student's boyfriend is charged

May 28, 2004|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

This was supposed to be a season of celebration for Shannon Pierre-Jerome. Her senior prom was last night, her Lansdowne High School graduation ceremony is next week, and her future awaits her at Towson University.

The 17-year-old honor student and cheerleading captain was in critical condition last night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, according to a hospital spokesman. And her live-in boyfriend, 24-year-old Juan Pablo Navarro Juarez, was being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center, charged with trying to kill her, police said.

Pierre-Jerome moved into a unit in the Towson Woods Apartments with Juarez within the past two weeks, said Lansdowne High Principal Thomas DeHart. He said the couple had dated for as long as two years.

At a school awards ceremony Tuesday night, Pierre-Jerome received at least $12,000 in scholarships, DeHart said.

Charging documents against Juarez give this account of what happened Wednesday:

About 9:30 a.m., a man went into the rental office at the couple's apartment complex, on Witherwood Court near the Shops at Kenilworth, and said his girlfriend was dead. He then left, and a rental office representative called 911.

Paramedics found Pierre-Jerome lying on the bed in the master bedroom bleeding profusely from her head from being beaten. She was flown to Shock Trauma.

The contents of Pierre-Jerome's purse had been emptied on the living-room floor, and several pillows on the couch had been flipped over. Juarez's vehicle was parked at the apartment, but Pierre-Jerome's 1997 Mercedes was gone.

Pierre-Jerome's mother, June Hussnain, told police that Juarez called her Wednesday morning from her daughter's cell phone. He said, "Mommy, Mommy, somebody broke into the house and Shannon is not breathing," according to the charging documents.

Juarez also called the rental office, where the representative passed the phone to a police officer. The officer urged Juarez to return to the apartment, but because of a language barrier he had trouble understanding him, according to the documents.

After getting an arrest warrant, police spent the day searching for Juarez. Shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, detectives saw him in the 10500 block of Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills, and he was arrested without incident, police said.

Juarez was charged with first-degree attempted murder, police said.

Hussnain told police she knew of verbal arguments between her daughter and Juarez but no physical fights, according to charging documents. A longtime friend of the victim told police that Pierre-Jerome told him recently that Juarez had been violent with her, according to charging documents.

At Lansdowne yesterday, crisis counselors were available to talk to the underclassmen who were in school, DeHart said. Seniors are not in school this week.

He said faculty members were planning to talk about the incident to students at last night's prom at the Renaissance Hotel. There was to be a get-well banner for students to sign and a video where they could leave messages for Pierre-Jerome.

At Lansdowne, Pierre-Jerome also participated in the dance troop and junior ROTC program, rising to the rank of lieutenant, said DeHart, who has known her since she was a pupil at Lansdowne Middle School and he was principal there.

At Towson, Pierre-Jerome plans to major in Spanish and minor in dance, DeHart said.

"It's just the height of tragedy," he said. "This is just a real solid young lady."

Sun staff writer Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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