A 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty Wednesday to fatally punching a man at a Maryland fair last fall after the man refused to give him cash.
John Weed died Sept. 21 after the teen sucker punched him, without provocation, at the Great Frederick Fair the previous day, prosecutors say. Weed was 59.
Prosecutors said the 15-year-old boy asked Weed for cash. He refused. The teens walked away but the boy's 16-year-old brother turned back and punched him. Then, the 15-year-old punched him as well. It's believed to be the younger brother's blow that was deadly, prosecutors said.
"When Mr. Weed was facing his 16-year-old brother, the respondent came running from a distance and punched Mr. Weed with such force, the photos indicate he had lost consciousness almost immediately," the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office said in a release Wednesday.
Both teens were charged as juveniles.
Prosecutors had argued for the 15-year-old boy to be tried as an adult, but after a lengthy hearing in February, the court determined he would remain in the juvenile system.
“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," State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said. “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.
The 15-year-old initially was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. His brother was charged with second-degree assault.
Weed was a devoted uncle who took care of his family, his sister said last month. Before the attack, Weed was "the happiest I've ever seen him," she said.
Weed's sister called for the teens to be punished.
"We just wanted to spend time together as a family at the fair, but due to this horrible act of unprovoked violence my brother is now dead. There is no excuse for what these individuals have done," she said.