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Posted at 10:12 AM ET, 02/25/2011

14-year-old to be tried as an adult

By Ruben Castaneda
Ruben Castaneda

A youth who was 13 years old when he allegedly sexually assaulted and killed a teacher at the Cheltenham Youth Facility a year ago will be tried as an adult, a Circuit Court judge in Prince George's County has ruled.

Following a hearing that lasted several days, Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. issued a written ruling Tuesday that the boy should be tried in adult court rather than in juvenile court, according to the decision, which has not been made public, but was provided by a courthouse source.

"This has been a difficult and arduous process," said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for State's Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks. "We strive to hold defendants accountable and this is a first step in gaining justice for Hannah Wheeling."

The Washington Post generally does not name juvenile suspects unless they will be tried as an adult. In this case, the youth's name is not in the court's decision.

The teenager, who is now 14, is accused of beating and strangling Hannah Wheeling, 65, whose body was found Feb. 18, 2010, in the snow outside a cottage just beyond the fence of the juvenile facility.

She was wearing only a shirt and a bra, which had been pushed above her breasts, according to court records. The victim's legs were spread open and she had been bludgeoned, the court records say.

Wheeling was last seen around 4 p.m. the day before her body was found. She was administering a test to the suspect.

Investigators found a shirt with the suspect's name written on it under a set of stairs near where Wheeling's body was found, court records say.The shirt had blood on it. The victim's slacks, pantyhose, earrings and cellphone were found under the same set of stairs.

Nichols cited concerns over public safety, according to the opinion.

During the hearing to determine whether the boy would be tried as an adult, prosecutors produced witnesses who said it would take 10 to 15 years of therapy before it would be safe to release the boy from custody, according to the decision. If the boy were tried as a juvenile and committed to a juvenile detention center, he would have to be released when he turned 21.

Nichols also wrote that the boy has a record of burglaries, including one in which he allegedly stabbed and wounded a woman whose home he invaded.

Nichols wrote that the juvenile justice system operates on the principle that youthful offenders need to be helped rather than punished. But, the judge also wrote, the seriousness of the boy's alleged crimes call for him to be tried as an adult.

The boy is being represented by the public defender's office. Brian C. Denton, the chief public defender in Prince George's, said. the youth "is chronologically, emotionally, developmentally, and neurologically a 14-year-old, with a 14-year old's lack of judgment and impulse control. Charging him in adult court and trying to send a child to an adult prison cannot change that basic biological fact."

Several Cheltenham workers were disciplined for not adhering to security protocols.

This item has been updated since it was first published.

By Ruben Castaneda  | February 25, 2011; 10:12 AM ET
Categories:  Homicide, Juvenile Justice, Pr. George's, Ruben Castaneda  | Tags:  Prince George's County crime, juvenile crime  
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Comments

My goodness he was a sexual predator at a very young age. I hope he NEVER gets out of prison.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | February 24, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

The defect needs removed from the gene pool asap.

Posted by: metroman76 | February 24, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

He that commits that kind of a crime must have his day in court and if found guilty must get the full due he owes no matter who or what age. What good is it to keep a person found guilty of such a crime alive? How much does our tax money goes to keep this type of person in prison per year? WHAT A WASTE.

Posted by: usapdx | February 24, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I fear for society when that kid is eventually released from wherever he ends up. If he's this dangerous now, I can only imagine how much more dangerous he will be after he's grown--even after 15 years of therapy. At 13 he is already an alleged rapist and murderer. If he's guilty, he probably harbors a lot of rage.

Posted by: CatLady5 | February 24, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Some people are born bad. He sounds like one of those people. He deserves to be tried as an adult for committing such a terrible crime against an elderly woman. If he is ever released from prison, I hope he goes to a state mental hospital. He should never be free again.

Posted by: skinfreak | February 24, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

If this would have happened in DC, it would be nearly impossible to charge as an adult. DC needs to modify its juvie laws!! Sometimes protecting society has to be a priority.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | February 24, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

He may be chronologically, emotionally, developmentally, and neurologically a 14-year-old, with a 14-year old's lack of judgment and impulse control, but the fact is that the ovewhelming majority of other 14-year-olds do not commit such crimes, even though they are chronologically, emotionally, etc., also 14-year-olds.

Posted by: yrral | February 24, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

He may be chronologically, emotionally, developmentally, and neurologically a 14-year-old, with a 14-year old's lack of judgment and impulse control, but the fact is that the ovewhelming majority of other 14-year-olds do not commit such crimes, even though they are chronologically, emotionally, etc., also 14-year-olds.

Posted by: yrral | February 24, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow! This kid must really hate his grandmother and mom.

Posted by: drfields | February 24, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Jesus H Christ! This is what happens when kids grow up in the hood or trailer park to a mom who doesn't want or love him,is a "kid" herself, provides no guidance, and tosses the child away . . . at some point, the piece of [trash] is unleashed on society!

I worked in social services, before going to law school and working as a prosecutor, and I can tell you that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of juvenile crime. Their is a whole generation of these little dysfunctional m.f.'s just waiting to be unleased on society... and they aren't all in the hood, they are also in rural America!

Great decision to try him as an adult! Hopefully, he'll never get out of prison!

Posted by: TheChampisheretoo | February 25, 2011 6:03 AM | Report abuse


Obviously, he is the victim of lousy public employees. His teacher-victim was probably a UNION member too! All praise Gov. Scott Walker!!

Posted by: familynet | February 25, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Letting this young man out of juvie jail when he turns 18 would be a serious mistake. Putting a 14 year old in big-boy prison is also a serious mistake.


So which 'side' wins here? Where will the young man be placed? He should not be out in the community.

Posted by: momof20yo | February 25, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

momof20yo, you are thoughtful, sensible, and compassionate.

One thing is certain: He will not emerge from an adult supermax a better person for the experience.

This case really exposes everything that is wrong or lacking in our criminal justice system, and much of what is wrong in our society at large.

Are people born bad, as one poster believes? I believe some people are born lacking a correctly functioning brain, and in some instances what is dysfunctional prevents a person from developing empathy.

Otherwise, I'm pretty convinced that bad people come from bad parenting, whether it is indulgent, indifferent, or cruel and relentless.

An elderly relative of mine was sexually assaulted, and I ache for Ms. Wheeling and her family.

Posted by: carlaclaws | February 25, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Some people are just born evil...he never had a chance is my guess. He should be put down like a dog.

Posted by: mjandrews8 | February 25, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

fry this creature. rehab for these things is BS

Posted by: pofinpa | February 25, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

It is also a waste of tax payers money and would serve no purpose to send him to jail for life as an adult either.

Posted by: tazz2 | February 25, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Do an adult crime, do the adult crime. He was "man" enough to commit rape and murder, he's man enough to go to prison with his peers.

There he'll find out what rape feels like...

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 25, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

oppps... typo...

Do an adult crime, do the adult time. If he was "man" enough to commit rape and murder, he's man enough to go to prison with his peers.

There he'll find out what rape feels like...

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 25, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The kid already stabbed and wounded a woman in a robbery break in. Why was he not in juvie for that?
This is disgusting. Lock him away for ever.

Posted by: hebe1 | February 25, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

just kill this pos now. he is wasting oxygen

Posted by: slick3 | February 25, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

familynet - Dous your lobotomy scar hurt?

Posted by: PZ007 | February 25, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

You know...we probably all want to think that every person has some redeeming quality that will allow him to some day contribute to society.
But when you commit a rape and murder at 13 years old realistically what are the chances this kid will ever be anything more than a drag on society?
Obviously this kid doesn't value human life at the ripe old age of 13. No amount of rehabilitation is ever going to "fix" that. Some people simply CAN'T be fixed.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | February 25, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"What good is it to keep a person found guilty of such a crime alive? How much does our tax money goes to keep this type of person in prison per year? WHAT A WASTE." Last I heard, it costs $15K per year to keep hold a prisoner. Over 40 years, that is $600K. The average cost of appeals and attorney fees to get a death sentence is $1.5 million. It is cheaper to keep someone alive and You are not playing God.

Posted by: pejochum | February 25, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

slick3 wrote:
"just kill this pos now. he is wasting oxygen"

Isn't the purpose of a trial to see if he's actually guilty first before you "kill this pos"? Or are you suggesting that, when in doubt kill people and if there's a mistake, so be it?

TheChampisheretoo wrote:
"This is what happens when kids grow up in the hood or trailer park to a mom who doesn't want or love him,is a "kid" herself, provides no guidance, and tosses the child away . . . at some point, the piece of [trash] is unleashed on society!"

I'm sorry, but how do you know he grew up in the hood or trailer park, or to a mom who doesn't want or love him, or that his mom was a kid herself, let alone who provided no guidance and tossed her child away?

You go on to say "I worked in social services, before going to law school and working as a prosecutor, and I can tell you that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of juvenile crime. Their is a whole generation of these little dysfunctional m.f.'s just waiting to be unleased on society... and they aren't all in the hood, they are also in rural America!"

You worked in social services with that attitude? My god, what was your job in social services? It doesn't appear that you had an attitude of trying to provide help or assistance, or for that matter, that you had any concern for anyone if you're so quick to call "a whole generation" of young people "little dysfunctional m.f.'s".

I know that there are people out there, young people, that are frightening but, my god, with your attitude - especially as a social worker - you're as frightening as some of them are.

familynet wrote:
"Obviously, he is the victim of lousy public employees. His teacher-victim was probably a UNION member too!"

He's a victim of lousy public employees? You're suggesting that, if he's guilty, that it's because teachers are lousey.

What does it mean "His teacher-victim was probably a UNION member too!". Are you suggesting that a being a lousy public employee or being a "UNION member" justified a person being killed? For that matter what does being a "UNION member" have to do with anything in this discussion?

God, some of you people are scary. As scary as some of the people you're talking about.

Dungarees2@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | February 25, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Sociopath. His time is up.

Posted by: fluxgirl | February 25, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Vengeance is mine sayeth the lord.

Posted by: cduwel | February 25, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

In other countries, the public wait for a judge and jury to make a determination after the evidence is presented in court.

In the US vindictiveness and irrationality prevails. The police and prosecutor make damaging statements about the accused before the trial which he cannot deny or defend. In other words, the minds of prospective jurors are prejudiced before the trial because they are told through the media that the accused is guilty.

This is a conviction by proclamation.

Then the public, who know nothing about the evidence or the case, call for vigilante justice.

That is America for you.

Posted by: robertjames1 | February 25, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Our new State's Attorney isn't mucking around!

First, she goes after the death penalty for the pair who executed women and babies over a drug debt.

Now she makes an example out of that poor misunderstood little darling of a rapist and killer.

Good going!

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 25, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"You worked in social services with that attitude?"--Dungarees

Dungarees, I've met a lot of people in social services who were badly used and abused by many of the "clients" they diligently served. Working for "clients" with little self-respect and a surplus of hostility and dysfunction may change the way you see society and even spur you to reevaluate your worldview, particularly if you started out as a young and naive idealist.

Dungarees, unless you are/were a social worker -- or labor in some other very comparable line of work -- I suggest that you don't throw these stones. You must be unfamiliar with the tremendous undervaluation of social workers these days.

Also, familynet is obviously trolling with his/her sardonic hyperbolic sarcasm. Did you all just discover the Internet yesterday? Many things are to be ignored outright or at least not to be taken literally, particularly from trolling commenters.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 25, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Time for castration,execution or both!

Posted by: 10bestfan | February 25, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Lots of teenage girls out there would have slept with you if you had a car, holmes. They don't ask for much.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | February 25, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

If it is proved that she died at his hands so must he be put to death. If not for anything else but as an example to the rest of the knuckelheads in that facility and else where.

Posted by: JoeCitizen | February 25, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

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