Fairfax teen murder suspect's mother under investigation
A story last week revealed that a 16-year-old Fairfax County murder suspect had been in the Fairfax juvenile jail last fall, but was approved to take a trip to the dentist -- with his mother -- by a Fairfax probation officer.
The teenager did not return, and in March he allegedly killed another 16-year-old with a baseball bat in a Fairfax park. A number of readers asked why the mother was not charged with a crime for her role in the son's escape and four-month disappearance.
We put that question to Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh, who responded:
The matter is currently under investigation by [the Fairfax police] gang unit. Stay tuned.
The county prosecutor also noted that police and prosecutors would have to prove complicity on the mother's part, and that if the 16-year-old fled without her help, she may not be criminally culpable.
But if the mother aided his escape or harbored him later, she could be charged.
Fairfax probation officer Keith Gropposo, who was not the probation officer involved in approving the teen's dental visit, testified in juvenile court last week that after the 16-year-old absconded, his family did not return phone calls seeking information about him.
Gropposo said the teen was a member of MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, and that he and a 15-year-old gang member beat Christian Perez to death in Woodlawn Park on March 19.
Robert A. Bermingham, the head of Fairfax juvenile court services, said the policy on approving medical trips from the juvenile detention center has been revised to add more review. The 16-year-old suspect in this case had prior convictions for malicious wounding and gang participation, and was in jail for a second malicious wounding charge when he was allowed to leave with his mother.
-- Tom Jackman
April 12, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories: Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Homicide , Reader Questions , Tom Jackman , Updates
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