Three arrested in death of 17-year-old boy at party

Fourth suspect at large in fatal beating of teen

Pasadena

July 27, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

One of four men charged with murder in the weekend beating death of a Pasadena high school football player was ordered held without bail yesterday, two others were arrested on the Eastern Shore and police were still seeking the fourth.

The victim - 17-year-old Noah Jamahl Jones - was a linebacker on the Northeast High School team who was attending summer school to make up credits he needed to join the senior class in September, said his aunt, with whom he lived.

"Jamahl was a fun-loving person," said Phyllis Jones of the 800 block of 205th St. in Pasadena. "To meet him was to love him."

Police said Jones was fatally injured and two other young men hurt in what they described as an "altercation" outside a party a block from Jones' home in northeastern Anne Arundel County late Saturday.

David Michael George, 19, of the 7800 block of Tall Pines Court in Glen Burnie surrendered to police Sunday and was denied bail yesterday. A witness accused him of "kicking, punching and hitting Noah Jones with beer bottles and his fists" shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, according to charging documents.

Yesterday afternoon, investigators arrested Jacob Tyler Fortney, 18, of the 700 block of 218th St. in Pasadena, and Richard Elbert McLeod, also 18, of Chestertown. They were apprehended in Snow Hill.

Also named in a warrant is Joshua David Bradley, 20, of the 8000 block of Escalon Ave. in Pasadena, who George's defense lawyer said was in the process of hiring an attorney and planned to turn himself in.

Police described the fight as between two groups of people who knew each other, but said they did not know what started it.

Several of Jones' friends said that he was part of a small group that was lured to the house by people looking to fight. When they arrived, they were attacked by assailants armed with hammers, bats and glass bottles, the friends said.

George's defense lawyer, Peter S. O'Neill, said at yesterday's bail review that the group arrived uninvited - and armed.

O'Neill said a witness told him that four young men armed with a handgun, a Taser and a hammer showed up uninvited at the doorstep of a party of about 10 people. A confrontation led to the fight outside, he said.

"My client at no time struck the victim," O'Neill told District Judge Vincent A. Mulieri, as he unsuccessfully sought bail for George.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Cogan countered that police had a witness who said George was involved in Jones' death. The prosecutor argued that, if released, George might intimidate witnesses.

George has no criminal convictions but was sentenced to probation before judgment in a 2002 drug case and a 2003 drunken-driving case, a pretrial release worker told the judge during the bail hearing.

Also injured in Saturday's fight were Tormarco Santonia Harris, 18, of Annapolis and Marion James Sheppard, 18, of no fixed address. Both were released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after receiving treatment.

Capt. Thomas Rzepkowski, a police spokesman, said detectives continue to investigate Jones' death and would not comment on a possible cause of the dispute.

Yesterday, relatives and acquaintances of Jones described him as lighthearted but a hard worker.

Mike Cotham, head football coach at Northeast High School, said Jones never complained about being a second-string player but instead worked to improve his teammates' game.

"That's not something you find now," Cotham said. "He knew what his role was. He always gave us a good practice."

His aunt said he had chosen to stay in Anne Arundel County with her several years ago after his parents moved to Hampton, Va.

Expelled from Northeast High School for fighting two weeks before the end of the year, he was chastened and disappointed, said his mother, Robin Jones. "It hurt him so much" to be missing classes, his mother said.

He was attending summer school to make up English and math credits he had missed. While out of school, he did his homework and watched CNN, his friends said.

His room at his aunt's home was comfortably untidy and decorated with evidence of his fondness for children's television shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants. "He was a little kid inside," said Jessica Cook, 16, a friend of the victim.

Jessica and Jones' mother said he was serious about writing songs and planned to go to college and pursue a career in music.

On Thursday, the family will hold a service at 6 p.m. at Stallings Funeral Home on Mountain Road in Pasadena. After the service, mourners will hold a prayer vigil, marching from Jones' home, passing the crime scene and ending at the park at 205th Street and Outing Avenue.

Jones will be buried in Virginia.

Sun staff writers Liz F. Kay and Mary C. Schneidau contributed to this article.

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