Charges dropped against former high school wrestling champion

But Patrick Downey III still faces charges in two pending cases in Baltimore city

March 25, 2011|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

Charges against a former two-time high school state wrestling champion were dropped Friday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court because of what prosecutors called inconsistencies in the victim's statement.

The charges — second-degree assault, robbery, reckless endangerment and theft — stemmed from an incident in September in which Patrick Downey III of Glen Burnie and two others were accused by a fellow North County High School student of not paying for a small bag of marijuana and then driving away while the 16-year-old victim was attempting to get back in the car.

In asking Judge Paul A. Hackner to drop the charges against Downey, Assistant State's Attorney Brooke McKay said the 16-year-old told "numerous versions" of his story to police and prosecutors.

"We don't believe we would be able to rehabilitate or repair" the case against Downey, McKay said.

Downey's attorney said his client has maintained his innocence "from the beginning."

"It was our position early on that the version of the facts that were provided by the victim made little or no sense," said the attorney, Peter O'Neill.

Downey, 18, still faces first-degree assault charges in two separate earlier incidents in Baltimore. He is scheduled to stand trial May 5 in those cases.

As a result of the Anne Arundel charges, Downey was placed on "home teaching" by county school officials and was ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities. Downey had been in the midst of a football season in which he was the team's starting quarterback and captain. He didn't wrestle after finishing undefeated at North County as a junior and at Loch Raven High as a sophomore.

After being declared ineligible, Downey moved with his father, Patrick Jr., to Orlando, Fla., with hopes of wrestling there. But that state's high school athletic association ruled Downey ineligible because of the criminal charges. They recently returned to Maryland, but according to Bob Mosier, spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the younger Downey remains on "home teaching."

Before his legal troubles, Downey had been considered one of the top Division I wrestling prospects on the East Coast.

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