The second of two teens who fatally punched a 14-year-old Crofton boy was ordered Thursday to spend up to four years in a juvenile facility, ending the prosecution in a death that became a symbol of suburban youth violence.
"I see two families that are devastated, yours and Christopher's," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge J. Michael Wachs told Javel M. George as he sentenced him for manslaughter in the death of Christopher D. Jones.
The May 30 homicide raised national concerns about the threat of teen gang violence in suburban communities. It led to a retaliatory firebombing, efforts to build a community center in Crofton and a move by the church Christopher attended to found a youth center in his memory.
"There is so much of me that wants to hate you for killing my son, but more of me wants to work toward forgiving you," Jennifer Adkins told George, who turns 17 next month. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life full of rage and anger. I prefer to spend it making changes and focusing on building a legacy for my son."
But David Jones, the victim's father, felt otherwise.
"I'm sorry, I'm not as forgiveful as his mother," he said, after telling Wachs he was robbed of his son only to have his taxes pay for efforts to rehabilitate George.
George was initially charged as an adult, but his case was moved to juvenile court.
The attack took place several hundred feet from the home where Adkins was waiting for her son, who was bicycling home. Christopher was not in a gang but had friends who were in rival local crews. George and a younger teen confronted Christopher, believing he had said something derogatory.
Christopher denied it but accused the now-15-year-old attacker of insulting George. Prosecutors said the younger assailant delivered the first blow, punching Christopher once in the left cheek; then George punched him on the other side - though George claimed that he slapped Christopher.
The blows damaged an artery, and Christopher, who didn't throw a punch, pedaled about 30 feet on his bike and collapsed.
Assistant State's Attorney M. Virginia Miles told Wachs that George was not taking responsibility for causing Christopher's death.
Asked by Wachs if he believed he committed manslaughter, George initially said "not really."
George's family told Wachs that George did not intend to kill Christopher.
"I pray one day you will not hate us," said Anetra George, his mother.
As the courtroom emptied, the mothers spoke, with Anetra George offering condolences to Adkins.
"Can I give you a hug?" George said.
"Yes," Adkins replied.
The women cried as they embraced.