Unmoved: Judge slams I-64 teen

He was cooperative, remorseful, and willing to seek treatment, according to testimony. So a probation supervisor, the defense, and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe, left, recommended that the Crozet 16-year-old charged with shooting at cars on Interstate 64 be kept close to home for just six more months at the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center, where he's said to be a "model detainee." But their pleas failed to move Judge Susan Whitlock, who sentenced the youth to a far grimmer fate with the state's Department of Juvenile Justice– with no release date in sight.

"Because of the number of charges and the violent nature of those charges, the court believes incarceration to the juvenile justice system advisable," Whitlock said today in Charlottesville Albemarle Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The boy's mother, earlier so hopeful, appeared crestfallen that her son would not do his time close to the family and friends who have regularly appeared in court with her.

Two months to the day after the youth was arrested at Yonder Hills Farm for his role in the March 27 shooting spree with Gremlin-driving Slade Woodson, 19, the court ruled that remorse and restitution didn't diminish the fact that the two teens fired bullets into numerous occupied vehicles and homes.

The former Western Albemarle High student originally was charged with 15 counts in Albemarle. Two more in Waynesboro were transferred to Albemarle. As part of his guilty plea, he was sentenced today for just seven charges, but Whitlock's action means he could remain incarcerated until he's 21.

"We're surprised," said the boy's attorney, Dana Slater, noting that defense has 10 days to decide whether to appeal the court's decision to Circuit Court.

"There's no certainties when you appeal," said Slater, who added, "An indeterminate commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice is about the worst you can get."

Family support was one of the reasons Barbara Ferrier, probation supervisor with the 16th District Court Services Unit, had recommended Blue Ridge Detention's 180-day program. She also suggested a suspended sentence, supervised probation, and restitution to the victims.

The boy "has in meetings with me expressed tremendous remorse and acknowledged responsibility," Ferrier said.

Because Judge Whitlock sentenced the teen to the state, the Department of Juvenile Justice will determine where he goes and for how long.

11 comments

Hopefully, that will be enough time for him to grow up.

Sad case of no HOME TRAINING. Happens WAY TOO OFTEN!

Was the press or public informed as to the reports relating to the kid's family situation/prior history? Maybe Whitlock truly feels the teen will be served best while being cared for by those other than the family or local facilities. The state youth system gets a bad rap at times. From what I hear, the state juvenile system can often be more effective/corrective in the long run.
Where was "the family" the night the kid was doing his deed? This boy and most 16 year old boys need around the clock guidance/supervision. I'm not convinced this family has made a case for taking on a futher supervisory role for this kid.

Until he's 21? That's a grim fate? A grim fate is being shot down in front of your apartment 2 months before you return to college because you fit a description (no I'm not talking about New York, I'm talking about good old Charlottesville). The guy who stabbed and killed someone at UVa gets 3 years or so, and the kid that opens fire on a highway full of people gets 5 years. Thank goodness that this young man was white. His lack of melanin must make it easy to see how sorry he is for this crime. The hypocrisy in this town is unbelievable. If it was a 16 year old black boy who had decided to open fire from a bridge overlooking a major highway, they would have charged him with 17 charges of attempted murder, tried him as an adult and sent him to a penitentiary in Richmond for most of his natural life. This young man will spend 5 years in a juvenile detention center.
But I guess that's to be expected from a town that has no problem singing the praises of it's patriarch while continually ignoring the children he sired by forcing himself on his slaves¢Ã¢â??¬Š
what? To soon?

In 2001 a gang of teenagers was driving around town and beating up people for kicks. They were looking for anybody to attack who wasn't black. Evenutally they were caught and tried. Judge Susan Whitlock then sentenced the leader, Vernon Howard, to 7 months of home confinement and required him to write letters of apology. This after Alvin Edwards spoke out and raised money in support of the assailants. Howard brutally assaulted and terrorized people but the judge gave him a slap on the wrist. Since then Howard has been charged with more violent crimes. Perhaps the judge learned something and that influenced her decision in this case.

Kevin, This is interesting. Kids who are this violent usually need to be taken out of the home. After all, the former home environment has "too often" not been one where the kid received a proper upbringing. The local system often fails when they make it too easy for these violators and their families. I'm also guessing Whitlock is sorry she made it too easy for Howard. It is very sad when the legal system overly protects such criminal behavior.

I actually know the some of the kids that were tried in that case, and they should have been given a more strict punishment. That doesn't change the fact that these two people opened fire on a crowded highway. I'm not defending the actions of any criminal, black or white, I'm saying that the punishment should fit the crime, regardless of what the transgressor looks like.

We need to stop thinking 'poor white kid who would have behaved better better if he'd had better parenting' and just look at the crime - kid shot up I64 - he needs jail for long enough that he understands (and his family and friends too) how serious a crime that is.

You've got to be kidding. The teen should have gotten a stiff prison sentence for numerous counts of attempted murder. His mother is obviously part of the problem if she thinks that shooting at occupied cars and houses should be punished by 6 months in juvenile detention. This kid is a psychopath and needs to be carefully watched his whole life.

Whatever happened to the innocent bystander who was shot by police in the arrest raid? Did he live? Is he pressing charges?

Family Guy, is this the man you are talking about?:
http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index.php/2008/06/19/no-charges-filed-in...