FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The 15-year-old charged in the death of 59-year-old John Weed at the Great Frederick Fair last year has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Tuesday afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court.
“I think we are very happy for Mr. Weed’s family that this step is over,” said the chief of the juvenile division, Laura Wilt. “All of this has been dragged out so long.. It is just the way the legal system is.”
Weed died the day after the Great Frederick Fair on September 20 after he was attacked at the fair by the 15-year-old and his 16-year-old brother. The 15-year-old is charged as a juvenile.
According to the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, Weed lost consciousness almost immediately after the 15-year-old punched him at the fair, and he never gained consciousness – dying of his injuries at the hospital the next day. The state’s attorney holds that this was not a race-related incident, and no one accused Weed of using a racial slur.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith commented, “Holding him responsible for the manslaughter was the very first thing we wanted to accomplish for the family and community, regardless of whether he was tried as an adult or juvenile. The family and my prosecutors are pleased that has now occurred.” Smith added, “We now turn our efforts toward the disposition set for May 15. Since the judge made the decision to keep him in the juvenile system, that means the judge and juvenile services will focus on his rehabilitation, not punishment like the adult system. That’s a reality that we have to deal with, and one the family understands as well.”
The attorney for the family said they continue to grieve the man who held their family together.
“I think it is a positive sign that the juvenile admitted and accepted responsibility for his n his role in the killing of Mr. Weed and they hope that is a positive sign that he is going to take responsibility and seriousness in his disposition,” said Attorney for the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, Chris Quasebarth.
Disposition, also known as sentencing, is schedule for May 15.
As for the 16-year-old also charged in this case, his trial is still pending.
WDVM did reach out to the attorney representing the 15-year-old. He said he would not comment at this time