Teen denied trial as juvenile

Cases involve violent robberies

one victim was beaten into coma

October 16, 2007|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge has denied a man's request to be tried as a juvenile in two violent robbery cases earlier this year, including an attack that left a Southeast Baltimore man in a coma.

Arthur Jeter was less than a month short of his 18th birthday when, police allege, he and three other suspects were involved in the attack and robbery of Zachary Sowers, 28, early June 2, outside the man's home near Patterson Park. Four days after that incident, authorities allege, Jeter and others robbed and assaulted another man.

Jeter's public defender, Jennifer Davis, argued yesterday before Judge Roger W. Brown that Jeter was not one of two assailants who police believe beat and stomped Sowers. Davis said that he was instead waiting in a car with another friend when the attack occurred on a city street. She said that as soon as Jeter was arrested and shown photographs of Sowers' condition, he cooperated with police.

But Jennifer Rallo, a city prosecutor, said that Jeter - who faces attempted first-degree murder and related charges - had earlier been placed on probation in the juvenile system for a second-degree assault charge, just a week before the attack on Sowers.

She said Jeter represented a "serious threat" to public safety, that a court-ordered medical evaluation showed he has "continued poor judgment" and that he has not shown remorse.

In a second robbery days after the attack on Sowers, Jeter is accused of robbing and pistol-whipping a man; that man was not seriously injured, Rallo said. Police used credit card records, videotape surveillance and other evidence to charge Jeter and three other young men in Sowers' attack.

The attack on Sowers, a financial analyst at Johns Hopkins University, shook residents in Southeast Baltimore because of its viciousness and apparent randomness. Sowers was assaulted and robbed as he walked home from a bar in Canton at night.

His wife, Anna, and family and friends have held fundraisers to help cover the cost of Sowers' medical care. His friends also started a Web site to disseminate updates on the condition of Sowers, who has shown few signs of progress since he was beaten.

Speaking in court yesterday, Anna Sowers said she and her husband were supposed to be celebrating their first wedding anniversary this Saturday. Instead, "we just spend all our days at the hospital."

"Zach was doing nothing ... just walking down the street," Sowers told the judge. Allowing Jeter and Eric Price, another juvenile defendant in the case, to be tried in juvenile court, "would be cheating the system," Sowers said.

In deciding to keep Jeter in the adult court system, Judge Brown noted his physical maturity, the "extremely serious" nature of the two assaults and an apparent lack of response to treatment in the juvenile system.

"This court does not feel he is amenable to treatment," Brown said.

Yesterday, Brown also postponed the juvenile transfer hearing for Price, 17, until Nov. 7. Jeter and Price, along with Wilburt Martin, 19, and Trayvon Ramos, 16, face trial Dec. 7.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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