The teenager responsible for the death of a man at a Maryland Fair has been sentenced to probation and an anger management course after delivering a fatal blow to a local man after a verbal argument over a dollar.
A 16-year-old pleaded guilty to the brutal assault at the Great Frederick Fair where a group of teenagers surrounded 59-year-old John Weed demanding a dollar. When Weed failed to comply, the group punched him in the head repeatedly, with the 16-year-old in question landing the fatal blow.
After Weed fell to the ground unresponsive, the group of teens spat at the victim before dancing around his unconscious body, hollering excitedly. Weed died the next day in hospital after never regaining consciousness.
Police were called to the scene around 5:30 pm on September 20 last year after dozens of witnesses saw the unprovoked assault culminate in the death of the Mount Airy resident.
National File previously reported on the initial incident where “Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith claims the attack was not a hate crime, against police recommendations.”
“We see no facts in this particular case that would lead anyone to believe there was an intent to kill, an intent to murder the victim,” Smith said, adding that he would be recommending manslaughter charges instead of first–or even second-degree murder.
Smith also denied that the attack was a hate crime: “Right now, what we know, it was over a dollar bill, it was not over race.”
“This was over him asking him for a dollar bill. Now, obviously there was some degree of dialogue that occurred after that and it was negative dialogue, who said what? We don’t know at this point in time. The sheriff is still asking for people to come forward. This was not about the knockout game…this was all over kids asking for a dollar and there was something that broke bad after that,” Smith said.
Smith then added: “There’s been a lot of people on social media, wanting them to be tried as adults. I can tell you I don’t make the law, I just prosecute people who break it. So the law does not permit states attorneys offices across the state of Maryland to charge a juvenile as an adult with manslaughter, with second-degree murder, with first-degree assault.”
The teen’s attorney Stacey Steinmetz and Judge Julie Stevenson Solt both agreed to make the case closed to the public, given the teenager’s past contained details too sensitive to be publicized.
The pair also agreed to drop a second assault charge handed to the teenager after a plea agreement was reached, reported Frederick News Post.
Judge Solt then demanded for the unnamed 16-year-old to complete an anger management course, among other commitments, and to be placed on probation.
A follow-up deposition has been scheduled later this year to ascertain whether the teenager has complied with his probation agreement.
Prosecutors had initially pushed for the teens responsible to be tried as adults and for the case to be moved to an adult court, but the court denied the motions.
“I think what that tells you is there is some concern about this young man’s ability to complete rehabilitation programs out in the community,” Smith said. “It’s tough to not want some measure of punishment for this young man, but in the juvenile system that’s certainly not the ultimate goal; it’s rehabilitation.”
“I think that the judge ruled fairly and with compassion for all the parties involved … we want to move forward, I think justice succeeded in this matter and I express sympathy to the family of Mr. Weed,” Steinmetz said after the hearing. “All along my client and his family have expressed sympathy and regret. I think [both families] have acted with compassion towards one another.”
The perpetrator’s younger brother, who was also involved in the fatal beating, pleaded guilty to a single charge of manslaughter in April, and was “ordered to remain in a juvenile detention facility to complete a behavioral modification program,” according to Frederick News Post.