Two friends of teen slain at party arrested

Police say they brought guns to Pasadena house

February 23, 2005|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Two friends of Noah Jamahl Jones, the teen-ager who died in a brawl near his Pasadena home last summer, have been arrested on charges that they brought weapons with them to a Pasadena house where the fatal fight took place.

Marion James Shepherd, 20, one of three men who went with Jones uninvited to the party, was arrested late Monday afternoon in Baltimore County on two outstanding warrants charging him with gun, assault and drug violations. Anne Arundel County District Judge Megan B. Johnson increased his bail yesterday to $60,000.

Also yesterday afternoon, Tormarco Santonio Harris, 19, surrendered to Anne Arundel County police on a charge of possessing a stun gun on the night of the party. He was released on personal recognizance. Harris and another youth had also gone with Jones to the July 24 party.

The arrests followed newspaper reports last week disclosing secret grand jury testimony in the cases of six men charged with manslaughter in Jones' death, including testimony that Shepherd and Harris had brought weapons to the party. The Sun also reported last week that Shepherd had not been arrested on an outstanding warrant after police allegedly found drugs on him while he was being treated for injuries from the fight.

Defense attorneys for some of the six men said the arrests underscored their longstanding contention that Jones and his friends were uninvited guests who showed up ready to fight. There has been no allegation that Jones had a weapon.

Prosecutors maintain that Jones died of head injuries suffered during an altercation with the six men.

The six charged in Jones' death are Joshua David Bradley, 20; Scott E. Burton Jr., 19; Gregory M. Florentino, 21; Jacob Tyler Fortney, 19, all of Pasadena; David Michael George, 20, of Glen Burnie; and Richard Elbert McLeod, 18, of Chestertown. Their trial is scheduled for May.

According to Shepherd's grand jury testimony, he and his friends went to a Pasadena home where they believed a friend was in danger. Shepherd admitted bringing a handgun but maintained it was not loaded, and said that Harris was carrying a stun gun.

Jones was black, as are his friends, and the six men charged with his death are white. Although there have been allegations that the dispute was racially tinged, the grand jury did not indict anyone on a hate crime.

"Excellent. They should have been arrested a long time ago. It's fascinating - this again just corroborates what my client has been saying all along," said Richard Finci, a lawyer for Bradley.

Shepherd was charged in a Feb. 10 warrant with transporting a gun, possessing a gun with the serial number obliterated and the second-degree assault of Michael Steinbach, whose father owns the house where the fight broke out, prosecutors said.

The judge increased the bail for those charges from $5,000 at the time of his arrest to $50,000 after a prosecutor said that Shepherd had a different handgun with its serial number erased when arrested Monday.

Johnson also increased Shepherd's bail on the drug charge from $2,500 at the time of his arrest to $10,000.

Sun staff writer Sarah Schaffer contributed to this article.

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