City College student facing attempted murder charges in beating of student

Court documents say 15-year-old student allegedly choked, beat female student unconscious

December 04, 2010|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

A 15-year-old City College student has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault after he allegedly attacked a female classmate in the school last month, choking and beating her until she blacked out.

Duane Geiger of North Baltimore was charged as an adult last month with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment in the attack, which took place in an art class at the high school. He is also charged with school disturbance.

He is due to be arraigned Jan. 6, and in an e-mail Saturday, Geiger's attorney, Donald C. Wright, said he believes facts presented in court will discredit the victim's account of the attack and the extent of her injuries, though he said he believes the damage to Geiger's reputation may likely be irreparable. Family members at Geiger's home declined to comment Friday.

According to charging documents filed in Baltimore Circuit Court, school police officers responded to the school about 10:45 a.m. Nov. 12 after receiving a report of an unconscious female student involved in an assault.

When they arrived, they found the school's managing assistant principal, Cindy Harcum, and another administrator, Rodney Joyner, escorting Geiger down the hallway. When a school police officer reached for handcuffs, Geiger attempted to flee and was later detained, documents said.

Officers then responded to the classroom where the assault took place and found a 15-year-old female sophomore being treated by paramedics. She was crying with both hands over her face and unresponsive to police questioning.

When she removed her hands, the documents said, police observed severe swelling to her face and left eye, and blood coming from her mouth and nose. She also had scratches to the back of her left ear and head. Police said that when they asked the victim what happened, she responded: "He beat me till I blacked out," charging documents said.

The female student was taken to Union Memorial Hospital, where she was evaluated for several injuries and treated.

The school system did not make the incident public, but Harcum sent a letter home to parents that day, informing them of the attack and saying that "this kind of behavior causes injury to City College and I want to reiterate as strongly as possible that there is no place for such conduct at City."

The female student told police that the assault was spurred by a verbal altercation with a male student, whom she identified as Geiger, that ended with him putting her in a chokehold and lifting her from the ground.

"When the victim attempted to get free, the victim said, Geiger threw her to the floor, took her head in both hands and slammed her head into the cement floor several times. He also began punching her in the head and face even after the victim was unresponsive and unable to defend herself," the documents said.

The City College art teacher who was in the classroom corroborated the victim's story in charging documents, telling police that she instructed Geiger to stay away from the girl after he pulled her chair out from under her earlier in the class, causing her to fall.

The teacher said the girl became angry, throwing Geiger's snack on the floor, and he attacked her until she was motionless, according to the charging documents. The teacher called for a hall monitor while she and students yelled for Geiger to stop, the documents said.

The charging documents stated that the teacher told police she feared Geiger.

A week after the attack occurred, two City College students were also involved in an altercation with a school police officer, according to the school system, that resulted in the students being taken into custody.

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