4th man held in slaying of teen

3 have been denied bail

other awaits hearing

First-degree murder charges

Student was beaten to death outside party


July 28, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A judge ordered two more of the four men accused of fatally beating a Pasadena high school student over the weekend held without bail, and the fourth turned himself in to Anne Arundel County police yesterday.

The men are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Noah Jamahl Jones, 17, who was killed Saturday a block from his home during what police described as an "altercation" between two groups outside a party.

Yesterday, as Jones' extended family watched and wept, suspects Jacob Tyler Fortney, 18, of Pasadena and Richard Elbert McLeod, 18, of Chestertown appeared on a video monitor from jail before District Judge Vincent A. Mulieri.

A bail review hearing was scheduled for today for Joshua David Bradley, 20, of Pasadena, who turned himself in yesterday. On Monday, David Michael George, 19, of Glen Burnie was ordered held without bail.

David Putzi, Fortney's lawyer, argued that his client was "way overcharged," acted in self-defense - he said police documented injuries to Fortney - and should be released on home detention.

"I would not expect a grand jury to come back, if it is presented, with a first-degree murder allegation," he told the judge.

Outside the courtroom, he said that according to the police version, Fortney was the "least culpable" of the four men charged with murder and that when the case goes to a grand jury, he would expect a manslaughter indictment "at worst."

Charging documents filed by police accuse Fortney of kicking Jones "in the head, chest and throat area." The other three men are accused of kicking, punching and beating the Northeast High School football player with their fists and beer bottles, according to the charges.

"If the grand jury did not return an indictment, it would not shock me," Putzi said.

Prosecutors argued that Fortney and McLeod were public-safety and flight risks. They did not turn themselves in and were apprehended Monday in Snow Hill.

Fortney has unrelated pending charges: malicious destruction of property, theft and an alcohol violation.

He was given probation before judgment in May for underage possession of alcohol, and this year other misdemeanor charges were placed on hold, according to court records.

Putzi echoed remarks made Monday by Peter O'Neill, George's lawyer, who said Jones was part of a small group that went to a home in the 700 block of 205th St. in Pasadena uninvited, armed and looking for a fight. A party was being held there. Jones' family maintains he went to help a friend and that he was not the sort of person who would be armed.

Lt. Joseph Jordan, an Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman, said police are continuing to investigate Jones' death. He would not comment on those claims or on any of the accounts of what sparked the dispute.

Yesterday, a pretrial services worker told the judge that McLeod, who was not represented by a lawyer, lives with his grandmother. He has a pending disorderly conduct charge, and a warrant was issued for him in Worcester County for failing to appear in court last week on a charge of having an open container of alcohol.

McLeod's mother was slain in 1996 in a murder for hire that police say was arranged by her fiance for an insurance windfall. However, McLeod and his grandmother were the beneficiaries of the policy.

Jones was black and the defendants are white. Phyllis Jones, the aunt with whom the victim lived, said she is not calling her nephew's death a racial incident but said some of his friends were planning a rally related to race relations as a result of Jones' slaying.

Another aunt, Debra Jones, said many of her nephew's friends have made shirts, dog tags and buttons in his memory that she expects them to wear for a prayer vigil that will follow the funeral tomorrow.

Jones was expelled for fighting two weeks before the end of school but was readmitted for the fall and was making up classes over the summer so that he could join the senior class.

Sun staff writer Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.

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