Dundalk teen guilty in killing

November 06, 2008|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,jennifer.mcmenamin@baltsun.com

A 17-year-old Dundalk boy pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a teenager whom he and his friends picked at random to beat up in January.

William R. "Billy" Ferandes could receive a sentence of up to 60 years in prison, according to the terms of a plea agreement reached between prosecutors and the defendant's lawyer. Baltimore County prosecutors had been seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole. But Baltimore County Circuit Judge Patrick Cavanaugh agreed to impose a sentence of no more than life in prison with all but 60 years suspended and a concurrent 20-year prison term for a handgun charge to which the teenager also entered a guilty plea.

Although defense attorney Andrew I. Alperstein sought to have the judge commit to recommending his client for the youthful offender program at the Patuxent Institution - a maximum-security facility in Jessup that offers more educational and treatment options than Maryland's prisons - the judge agreed only to consider the request.

Ferandes was convicted of shooting Joshua Gibson on Jan. 28 as the 16-year-old walked to a friend's house, just half an hour before his 10 p.m. curfew, when his grandparents were to pick him up. The defendant was one of three young men from Dundalk who jumped out of a car and began beating him up. But it was Ferandes who pulled out a handgun and fired three shots - including two after the victim had turned to run, prosecutor Jason League told the judge.

"The defendants did not know Gibson," he said. "There was no reason for choosing him other than he was there at that moment." The two others who were with Ferandes that night pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and accessory to murder after the fact. They have not been sentenced. Ferandes is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

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