Teen to be tried as juvenile

CRIME WATCH

February 01, 2007|By Andrea F. Siegel

A teenager accused of murdering her newborn son will be tried as a juvenile, an Anne Arundel County judge decided yesterday.

Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis will still hear the second-degree murder case against Megan Rene Patria, who was 17 when she delivered a baby alone at her mother's Arnold home in December 2005. But the range of possible punishment if she is considered guilty is reduced for a juvenile.

As a juvenile, 18-year-old Patria, who now lives in Nottingham in Baltimore County, can be under the Department of Juvenile Service's supervision until she turns 21. Social workers said no appropriate facility for her exists in Maryland. If she is found culpable, the options would be to place her out of state or put her on the equivalent of probation. Last week, Deputy State's Attorney Laura S. Kiessling said she found probation for a killer "disturbing."

A trial has not yet been scheduled. If she were found guilty of second-degree murder as an adult, the potential penalties are far harsher. The maximum prison term is 30 years.

"She did the right thing," defense lawyer Howard L. Cardin said of Davis-Loomis' ruling.

He said his client made a mistake when she delivered the baby into a toilet, where she left the infant for at least several minutes before ultimately putting him in a trash can outside. But Kiessling has maintained that Patria, who hid the pregnancy from her parents, willfully killed the baby.

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