Two Baltimore youths have been formally charged with the death of their
stepfather. The defendants, ages 11 and 14, are facing allegations of
violent crimes in connection with the shooting death of a 47-year-old
man from Port Deposit. A 23-year-old defendant, also the man’s stepchild,
has been named in the criminal proceedings, as well. The two older defendants
face first-degree murder charges and weapons violations.
Official reports show that the youngest defendant has been charged as a
juvenile, though the two older defendants will be subject to adult courtroom
proceedings. The trio is accused of shooting and killing the victim in
mid-February. The man reportedly resided with his new wife and her five
children. Investigators have not yet identified a motive in the shooting death.
Authorities say that the older brothers could face a prison sentence of
life behind bars if they are convicted on homicide charges. The younger
defendant could be detained for rehabilitation until he ages out of the
juvenile justice system at age 21. Those defendants do not have an attorney
listed, and it does not appear that pleas have been entered for any of
them at this time.
This is not the first time that the 23-year-old defendant has been in trouble
with the law. That man had previously served time for a drug conviction
in 2010, according to court records. Officers also say that about two
pounds of marijuana were located near the victim’s home; it is not
clear whether that fact is relevant to the murder case.
The Maryland legal system accommodates defendants of all ages. Juvenile
defendants are necessarily treated differently than adults, but all defendants
still have the same basic rights to a fair and unbiased legal proceeding.
No matter the nature of the crime, no one should be considered guilty
simply because he or she was charged with a criminal violation.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “11, 14 year olds charged in killing of stepfather” Justin Fenton, Jul. 24, 2014