John Weed, 59, was harassed, punched, and spit on at the Frederick County Fair in Maryland last Friday and died a day later at a local hospital. 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.”
Via Fox 5:
“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,” said Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith. “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.”
Smith’s office also claimed the incident was unrelated to the infamous “knockout game,” with a chief juvenile attorney describing the attack as “a completely random act of violence.”
The narrative presented by the State’s Attorney’s office is directly at odds with local police’s description of the incident.
Via the Frederick News-Post:
Earlier Monday, Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said during an appearance on FOX 5 D.C. that “I certainly hope they consider [this case as a] hate crime,” as Weed was white and two teens are black.
“This was such a brutal, unprovoked attack. Not only the attack itself, but the fact that after the man was down, they spit on him repeatedly. I’m so disgusted, I’m angry, I’m upset for the family,” Jenkins said.
The father and attorney of the two males arrested for Weed’s murder both defended the attackers and requested they be released from jail in Monday’s court hearing:
Defense attorney Christopher Kalotra argued the brothers did not have a history of violence and requested that they be released to the custody of their parents.
Wade Taylor, the father of the two teens, said during the hearing that his son who threw the final punch is “not an animal, and is not a violent person.”
A GoFundMe account was set up by John Weed’s family over the weekend. The description of the fundraiser reads:
On Friday September 20th, Jay (John Weed) went to the Great Frederick County Fair to spend an evening of fun and laughter with his sister, his nieces, their loves ones and his great niece and nephew. At 5:30pm he fell victim to an unprovoked, physical assault. He was air lifted to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where they did everything they could to save his life. The damage to his brain was too severe. He was not coming back. Late Saturday afternoon with his Mother, Father and sister by his side he passed away. Please help my family during this extremely difficult time. We never imagined such a great man would have to die like this. We are seeking justice for him but will have to fight. Anything you can do is appreciated and will be used towards legal cost, medical bills, and funeral costs.
The GoFundMe has raised over $9,000 towards a $20,000 goal as of Tuesday afternoon.