Update: Teenager Kills Sister, Attacks Toddler in Spotsylvania County

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Boy’s state of mind is at issue:

A teen charged with raping and killing his sister may have been under the influence of marijuana during or after the crime, his defense attorney suggested in court yesterday.

Also in court, the boy’s mother suggested her son is insane and needs help.

A judge granted a request by Walter L. Smith Jr.’s defense lawyer to take a blood sample from Smith, 16, charged in the Labor Day slaying of his sister Betsy Mary Smith, 22, to determine whether the boy had drugs in his system.

The teen’s lawyer, Kristie Kane, said the blood analysis could provide evidence that might help Smith’s case, though she would not say how. Spotsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney William F. Neely said the results, which also would show any medications the teen had taken, could affect how Smith’s statements to police are weighed in court.

Smith made an initial appearance yesterday in Spotsylvania Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Judge Joseph J. Ellis set a Nov. 27 hearing to determine whether the case would be transferred to Spotsylvania Circuit Court, where Smith would be tried as an adult.


Walter L. Smith Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and rape in the death of his sister. Prosecutors yesterday also upgraded to aggravated malicious wounding a charge involving Smith’s alleged beating of his 2-year-old niece, who remains hospitalized.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors gave this account of what happened:

Smith attacked his sister with a sledgehammer and raped her Monday morning, in addition to hitting the toddler with the sledgehammer. The teen then locked the two victims and a 1-year-old relative in his sister’s bedroom in the dilapidated home along Brock Road in central Spotsylvania. The sister kept a padlock on the outside of her door.

At some point, relatives in the home asked about the two young children, and Smith let them out of the room and then locked it again. A relative took the girl to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, where it was determined the child had a fractured skull.

A detective went to the home about 8 p.m. Smith’s father gained access to the bedroom and they found the sister dead inside. Neely said she is believed to have been dead about 20 hours by then.

Smith then tried to commit suicide by jumping off a roof, authorities said. He initially told investigators that he killed his sister because she injured the toddler, Neely said, but then he changed his account.

In court yesterday, the judge cited the “heinous” nature of the allegations in deciding that Smith should remain in juvenile detention.

Neely said he believes county social services officials had opened an investigation involving some household members before the slaying. The parents apparently were sleeping at the time and later thought the older sister was away, Neely said, adding he does not expect to bring charges against the parents.

Teenager Kills Sister, Attacks Toddler in Spotsylvania County

From WUSA 9 in Washington, D.C.: Teenager Kills Sister, Attacks Toddler:

A Spotsylvania County teenager is charged with raping and killing his older sister and attacking his two-year-old cousin.

Sheriff Howard Smith says the 16-year-old boy told deputies that he went to his sister’s bedroom early Monday and hit her with a sledgehammer.

Smith says the victim — 22-year-old Betsy Mary Smith — was baby-sitting her two cousins — a two-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy.

Smith says the teenager — whose name has not been released — told deputies that the little girl began crying and he hit her with the sledgehammer, then raped his older sister and locked the two children in the bedroom with her.

She was found dead there last night. Police say she’d been stabbed and beaten with a sledgehammer. The little girl suffered a
fractured skull and a broken nose. The one-year-old was not injured.

The sheriff says investigators have not determined a motive.

The boy is charged with first degree murder, rape and malicious wounding. He’s being held in the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center.

From NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Woman Dead, Child Injured In Sledgehammer Attack:

Police have charged a teen boy in a sledgehammer attack that left his sister dead and a child injured.

Deputies on Monday were investigating a possible child abuse case at a home in the 8200 block of Brock Road. They were trying to figure out how a 2-year-old girl suffered a fractured nose and skull. The girl’s mother took her to a hospital after discovering she was bleeding, News4‘s Pat Collins reported.

A detective was searching the home when he found a padlock on a bedroom door. A hammer was used to break the lock. Upon entering, the detective found 22-year-old Betsy Mary Smith dead on the floor.

Smith, who lived at the home, had been stabbed and beaten with a sledgehammer.

Police said Smith’s 16-year-old brother told a detective that he went into the bedroom to kill his sister and beat her with a sledgehammer. Police said the teen then hit the 2-year-old with the sledgehammer because she was crying. He then killed his sister, police said.

Police said the teen then raped his sister, left her on the bedroom floor and locked the door with the 2-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy inside. Sheriff Howard Smith said the victim was baby-sitting the children, who were her cousins.

Collins reported that the suspect let the children out of the locked room about 12 hours later after they started crying again, which is when her mother noticed she was bleeding. The 1-year-old was not injured.

The teen was charged with first-degree murder, rape and malicious wounding. He’s being held in the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center.

Officials at Spotsylvania High School said the suspect was a freshman there. Crisis counselors will be at the school on Wednesday.

The suspect’s parents said he has had problems with depression in the past but isn’t currently on any medication.

The sheriff said investigators have not determined a motive.

UPDATE: From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Teen charged in sister’s death:

A 16-year-old Spotsylvania County boy who is accused of raping and killing his older sister on Labor Day likely will be tried as an adult, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Walter Smith Jr. is charged with murder and rape in the death of his sister, and malicious wounding in the assault of a 2-year-old relative, Spotsylvania Commonwealth’s Attorney William F. Neely said.

Authorities found the body of Betsy Mary Smith, 22, in a locked bedroom Monday night. “It had a padlock on it,” Neely said.

The teen’s father either unlocked the padlock or somehow broke down the door for a detective, Neely said.

The detective had gone to the house because relatives of the brother and sister had brought a 2-year-old girl to a local hospital with a fractured skull, Neely said.

Smith initially told authorities that he killed his sister because she had hurt the little girl, Neely said, but the teen then gave a statement implicating himself.

Neely said Smith’s sister was attacked with a sledgehammer and then raped before she died.

“She was stabbed, she was smashed in the head with a hammer and she was sexually assaulted,” he said.

Neely said the woman’s body had been in the bedroom of the house in the 8200 block of Brock Road for about 20 hours when authorities responded around 8 p.m. Monday.

Smith had locked the little girl and a small boy in the same room with his sister, Neely said, but had let the two young children out after relatives asked about them.

Neely said Smith tried to commit suicide afterward and is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center.

The teen is scheduled to appear this morning in Spotsylvania Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He would be tried as an adult if a judge later finds probable cause to certify one or more charges to a grand jury.

"The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers." Part 3

The reprieve is over, from ABC News [photo credit:Ibid]: Boys Face Sex Trial for Slapping Girls’ Posteriors [emphasis mine]:

Cory Mashburn Two middle-school students in Oregon are facing possible time in a juvenile jail and could have to register as sex offenders for smacking girls on the rear end at school.

Cory Mashburn [pictured right] and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, were arrested in February after they were caught in the halls of Patton Middle School, in McMinnville, Ore., slapping girls on the rear end. Mashburn told ABC News in a phone interview that this was a common way of saying hello practiced by lots of kids at the school, akin to a secret handshake.

The boys spent five days in a juvenile detention facility and were charged with several counts of felony sex abuse for what they and their parents said was merely inappropriate but not criminal behavior.

The local district attorney has since backed off — the felony charges have been dropped and the district attorney said probation would be an appropriate punishment. The Mashburns’ lawyer said prosecutors offered Cory a plea bargain that would not require him to register as a sex offender, which the family plans to reject.

But the boys, if convicted at an Aug. 20 trial, still face the possibility of some jail time or registering for life as sex offenders.

The boys’ families and lawyers said even sentencing them to probation would turn admittedly inappropriate but not uncommon juvenile rowdiness into a crime. If they are convicted of any of the misdemeanor charges against them, they would have to register as sex offenders.

“It’s devastating,” said Mark Lawrence, Cory Mashburn’s lawyer. “To be a registered sex offender is to be designated as the most loathed in our society. These are young boys with bright futures, and the brightness of those futures would be over.”

Cory Mashburn said he and Ryan Cornelison slapped each others’ and other kids’ bottoms every Friday. “Lots of kids at school do that,” he said.

Cory and Ryan were brought to the principal’s office Feb. 22, where they were questioned by school officials and a police officer. They were arrested that day and taken in handcuffs to a juvenile detention facility.

Court papers said the boys touched the buttocks of several girls, some of whom said this made them uncomfortable. The papers also said Cory touched a girl’s breasts. But police reports filed with the court said other students, both boys and girls, slapped each other on the bottom.

“It’s like a handshake we do,” one girl said, according to the police report.

The boys were initially charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse. At a court hearing, two of the girls recanted, saying they never felt threatened or inappropriately touched by the boys. The judge released the boys but barred them from returning to school and required that they be under constant adult supervision.

District Attorney Bradley Berry has since dismissed the felony counts. The boys face 10 misdemeanor charges of harassment and sexual abuse. They face a maximum of up to one year in a juvenile jail on each count, though Berry said there was no way the boys would ever serve that much time.


Depending on the terms of probation, it’s likely that the boys would not be allowed to have sexual contact with anyone or any contact with younger children, McFarlane [a supervising attorney at the Juvenile Rights Project in Portland, Ore.] said. For Cory Mashburn, that would mean he couldn’t be left alone with his younger siblings.


Cory, who said he now realizes what he did was inappropriate, spends his days playing video games and basketball. He said he’s scared. “I could go to jail. I could be registered as a sex offender,” he said. “I think it’s all crazy.”

Hat tip: Overlawyered

To say the least…

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Career day goes poorly for Goochland teen:

Authorities apprehended a Goochland County teen Tuesday who they said was impersonating a police officer to get his girlfriend out of summer school.

The 17-year-old youth went to Goochland Elementary School dressed in plain clothes and claimed to be conducting a drug investigation, Goochland Sheriff James Agnew said. The teen told administrators that he needed to speak with a 14-year-old girl at the school.

The public school system holds all of its summer programs at Goochland Elementary.

School officials called the sheriff’s office at 2:15 p.m., and deputies apprehended the youth on school property, Agnew said. The youth’s parents were called to come pick him up, and he was issued a summons for trespassing, the sheriff said.

“We know of him, and it was pretty obviously a silly plan by a kid,” Agnew said.

The incident caused no disruptions for the 280 students in the county’s summer school program, said Linda Underwood, acting superintendent for Goochland County Public Schools.

While admittedly a stupid thing to do, it’s probably good for everyone that they didn’t charge him with a felony which they could have.

Purely medicinal…

From NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Four Teen Girls Arrested In 33-Pound Pot Bust:

Frederick police said they found 33 pounds of marijuana in the car of a group of teenage girls on Friday morning.

Police said the car was weaving down Interstate 70.

Police have charged the four teenagers with possession and intent to distribute marijuana. The driver, 19 year-old Summer Rockenbaugh, of Thurmont, faces additional counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

The other girls have not been identified because they are minors. They are a 16-year-old from Thurmont, a 17-year-old from Hagerstown and a 14-year-old from Hagerstown. The girls were charged as juveniles with possession and intent to distribute marijuana.

Police estimated that the marijuana has a street value of about $100,000.

"The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers." Part 2

From The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Justices dismiss ‘absurd’ sex prosecution of pregnant 13-year-old girl:

The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a sex-abuse finding against a then-13-year-old Ogden girl who became pregnant by her 12-year-old boyfriend, ruling unanimously that treating her as both a victim and a perpetrator for the same act had created an “absurd result.”

The girl, identified as Z.C. in court records, was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in consensual sexual activity with her.

Writing for the court, Justice Jill Parrish said the Utah Legislature “clearly could have intended some degree of simultaneous culpability for both Z.C. and the 12-year-old boy under the fornication statute in order to discourage their admittedly reckless and age-inappropriate behavior.”

However, she added, legislators could not have meant to punish both adolescents for child sex abuse. “The primary fail-safe against the absurd application of criminal law is the wise employment of prosecutorial discretion, a quality that is starkly absent in this case,” Parrish wrote in a footnote.

Matthew Bates, an assistant state attorney general, said that neither adolescent was charged with a crime.

Rather, Weber County prosecutors filed delinquency petitions against the girl and boy as a tool to get services for them, he said. “The intent from the beginning was to help these kids,” Bates said.

What a bunch of geniuses. Now if only the courts in Georgia had this much sense. And Mr. Attorney General maybe you should check the definition of “delinquency” with which these two kids were charged with.

  • From Black’s Law Dictionary (Third Pocket Edition): delinquency, n. 1. A failure or omission; a violation of a law or duty.
  • From Juvenile Justice: Policies Programs, and Policies (First Edition): Delinquent act – Any behavior committed by a juvenile that would have been a crime if committed by an adult.

There are other ways to provide services to these two kids than charging them with a crime.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ