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Teen charged with murder in Md.

Washington Post Editors

A boy who was 13 when he allegedly beat a teacher to death in a state juvenile detention facility in Prince George's County in February was formally charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted rape.

The charge initially was reported as rape, but officials were incorrect. The teen is charged with attempted rape.

In a hearing in Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County prosecutors said they have filed papers seeking to try the boy, who this month turned 14, as an adult.

Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. scheduled a hearing on that issue for August 27. If the teen is tried as a juvenile and found "involved" -- the equivalent of guilty -- he could be held until he is 21. If the case is moved to adult court and he is found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

The Post does not generally name juveniles who are charged with crimes. If the boy is tried as an adult, his name would be published.

No new details of the murder emerged during the hearing. The teenager, dressed in a white T-shirt and casual pants, said little during the hearing.

The boy is accused of murdering Hannah Wheeling, who was a general studies teacher at the Cheltenham Youth Facility. He has been a suspect since shortly after the February incident; held in the detention center on burglary charges, he was moved to another facility during the murder and rape investigation.

Wheeling, 65, of Bel Air, Md., was found beaten to death outside the facility’s Murphy Cottage on Feb. 18 just before 8 a.m.

According to two law enforcement sources, Wheeling was last seen administering an exam to the suspect at 4 p.m. on Feb. 17.

About an hour later, another staff member saw the suspect running up a set of stairs; the boy appeared anxious and sweaty, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the case is ongoing.

Wheeling's body was found the next morning. In addition to being bludgeoned, she had been strangled with a "ligature," the sources said, meaning some type of cord was likely used. Near her body, the sources said, investigators found a concrete block they believe the suspect used to bludgeon Wheeling.

Also found were three shirts of the type issued to residents, one with the suspect's name written on the neckline. Each of the shirts had blood stains. DNA tests showed Wheeling's blood was on at least one of the shirts.

A state police spokesman said at the time of the incident that Wheeling died from “multiple blunt-force trauma injuries. It also appeared that Wheeling had been sexually assaulted, law enforcement sources said.

The boy was big enough to have overpowered Wheeling, according to law enforcement sources.

The killing raised questions about a facility with a difficult past. The suspect had been staying in Murphy Cottage, which sits outside the fence at Cheltenham and houses about 20 boys with no known history of mental illness or such violent crimes as murder, assault, and sexual offenses, said Jay Cleary, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, which runs Cheltenham.

A source familiar with operatons at Cheltenham said the youths at Murphy Cottage are supposed to be in the line of sight of a staff member 24 hours a day.

The boys assigned to Murphy Cottage were allowed to walk through the building and would have had access to the area where Wheeling’s body was found.

Investigators believe Wheeling arrived for work around 8 a.m. on Feb. 17 and never left the facility’s grounds.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

-- Ruben Castaneda

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 28, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Homicide , Juvenile Justice , Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda , Updates  
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Comments

Let's hear ACLU or NAACP plead that this "poor disadvantaged boy of color" should be tried as a juvenile, his name should go unreleased, but he himself should be released at 21.

We're waiting....

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | July 28, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Funny, I didn't read that color was mentioned anywhere in the article.

Posted by: mercredi | July 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

lol at mercredi

Posted by: slim4 | July 28, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to bigots to make a race thing out of it. Doesn't matter what color skin this dude is, he needs to be locked up. If he's big enough to do murder, he's big enough to do time.

Posted by: UnknownHenson | July 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

IS THERE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO PROVE THE SUSPECT DID IT? MAYBE HIS DNA ON THE VICTIM? IF SO, TRY HIM AS AN ADULT. HE TOOK THIS LADY'S LIFE AND SHOULD RECEIVE THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE FOR HIS CRIME. I FEEL SO BADLY FOR THE VICTIM, BUT WHY WAS SHE WORKING WITH PROBLEM BOYS AT HER AGE? THE STAFF WASN'T DOING THEIR JOB; OTHERWISE, THIS LADY MAY BE ALIVE TODAY. MY HUSBAND IS FROM BALTIMORE AND SAYS CHELTENHAM HAS ALWAYS BEEN BAD NEWS.

Posted by: skinfreak | July 28, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Capable of rape at the age of 13?

Raping a woman of 65?

This reminds me of "a frail-looking 15-year-old boy" who shot and killed to P. G. County police officers in the Hyattsville police station in 1979 who was let out early because he was "a boy" when he murdered the two police officers. He claimed it was in self-defense because he was black and they were white. Terrance Johnson

Posted by: cibor | July 28, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

who cares what color the "boy" is, he's bad news all the way around. he was already locked up for one offense when he raped and killed a 65 year old woman. talk about sick?!?! there is no rehabing this guy, he starting out wrong and probably honed his abilities while in cheltenham. he's done, throw him in jail and let the rot!

Posted by: dcdivacb | July 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Like other posts before mine, why is race an issue here? What if he's white does that mean his reasons for killing and raping this woman were any different than if he's black. Either way white or black he should be tried as an adult and made to pay for the crimes he has commited.

Posted by: amoten3 | July 28, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

We don't allow them to drink, smoke , or drive but when they do something wrong they are adults. We can't have it both ways. We send a 17 year old to combat but they can't buy a beer. Are they children or adults?

Posted by: vfw11333 | July 28, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

vfw11333, when I cam back from Viet Nam I couldn't drink beer in Maryland or vote. I was under 21.

But I've always known the difference between right and wrong. That is what sets us apart from animals like this "boy".

Some crimes should make age irrelevant.
All criminal prosecutions should be blind of race.

Posted by: cibor | July 28, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

And if the 65 year old female had been a 35 year old male, then the student would be sitting still in class today.

The kid should sue the state for placing in charge of him a person who couldn't defend herself, let alone control him.

Posted by: blasmaic | July 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

vfw11133,
"We don't allow them to drink, smoke , or drive but when they do something wrong they are adults. We can't have it both ways."
So what point are you attempting to make here? He's too young to understand what he did was wrong? Really? A functional kid of 13 doesn't know killing and raping is wrong?
I'm pretty sure he didn't stumble into an alternative school for boys by accident.
Regardless of his race this kid knew the deal and was obviously familiar with the juvenile justice system.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | July 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"vfw11333, when I cam back from Viet Nam I couldn't drink beer in Maryland or vote. I was under 21."

Must have been a long stay in Vietnam, or you went there as an infant. Maryland raised the drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1982. I recall this vividly because I turned 18 in 1981.

Posted by: GP04 | July 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

KILL KILLERS! If you take a life you lose your life!
10 y.o. or 100 y.o. KILL THE KILLERS!

Posted by: 1-20-09 | July 28, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

KILL KILLERS! If you take a life you lose your life!
10 y.o. or 100 y.o. KILL THE KILLERS!

Posted by: 1-20-09 | July 28, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Really sick behavior.....giving him the death penalty swiftly, would be just.

Posted by: Badger21 | July 28, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Really sick behavior.....giving him the death penalty swiftly, would be just.

Posted by: Badger21 | July 28, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Yup...let's punish all those that try to make a difference in the world & reward scum that don't know right from wrong or don't CARE!!

So maybe YOU should fund the salaries for all the prison guards etc. that are SORELY OUTNUMBERED and hire more so that they can all CONTROL each individual prisoner...got $$$ for that?

Perhaps what needs to happen is our laws should be strict enough to deter this behavior...all we do now is send them to juvenile detention/jail/prison so that they can get better trained for more serious crimes & we support it with our hard earned $$$. We let them out for "good" behavior, time served, whatever...!!!!

In this case, while he's protected by our laws as a juvenile, who suffers...not you or I, but the family!! Shame on any of you that make a distinction between AGE or SEX...THERE IS NO AGE LIMIT OR SEXUAL PREFERENCE FOR RAPE!!! Rape is rape & no matter what!!!

Posted by: cafmiller23 | July 28, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Society deems that those people under a certain age cannot make appropriate decisions or handle adult responsibilities, such as controlling alcohol intake or driving safely, so we make laws to protect society from those individuals as well as those people from their own immaturity.

Society will charge this youth, who is no doubt troubled if he is sitting in Cheltenham, with murder.

We assume this particular youth knows right from wrong; does that mean all 13 year old kids know right from wrong?
So should society lower the age of majority to 13 and abolish the juvenile system as well as the other laws that "protect" juveniles?

Society doesn't have a viable juvenile rehabilitation system (and maybe that is not useful for all).
This kid has broken the law as well as the assumptions we have for our "juvenile" citizens.
Throw away the key for him if you will, but given the severity of the crimes of some juvenile criminals (i.e. the 11 yr old boy who shot his step-mom in PA), I think we need to reevaluate the role family plays in the development of these kids.
And why have a juvenile system at all if we do not intend to make the best use of it?

Posted by: Chatelaine | July 28, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"The kid should sue the state for placing in charge of him a person who couldn't defend herself, let alone control him".

Really? He was assigned to Murphy Cottage and was supposed to be within line-of-sight of a staff member who was supposed to be "in-charge" of him at all times. Seems her family should sue the facility.

Posted by: sgtsam | July 28, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"vfw11333, when I cam back from Viet Nam I couldn't drink beer in Maryland or vote. I was under 21."
------------------------------------
Must have been a long stay in Vietnam, or you went there as an infant. Maryland raised the drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1982. I recall this vividly because I turned 18 in 1981.
Posted by: GP04
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You're forgiven considering you were born in 1981, but ask your parents.

In 1969 you could not buy a beer in Maryland until you were 21.

"Shame on any of you that make a distinction between AGE or SEX...THERE IS NO AGE LIMIT OR SEXUAL PREFERENCE FOR RAPE!!! Rape is rape & no matter what!!!"
+++++++++++++++++++++++

My comment was a reflection that when I was 13, we didn't think about intercourse, much less think of rape. That would have been 1962. Most high school seniors graduated as virgins in my socio-economic group...

Today when a 13 year old commits a rape, sadly, it's not such a surprise given girls are getting pregnant at 15, and their daughters will get pregnant at 15, and on and on.

America's demographics and morals have changed significantly.

Posted by: cibor | July 28, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"You're forgiven considering you were born in 1981, but ask your parents.

In 1969 you could not buy a beer in Maryland until you were 21."

-----------------------------
I'll admit that I could have been flat out wrong. Back in 1969 I was to young to care about the legal drinking age in MD. As for the rest of your post, you make a few good points. Times and demographics are changing.

Posted by: GP04 | July 28, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Well if you are reminded of him shooting the cops you should also be reminded of the fact they were beating the stuffing out of him first. don't pick and choose he did about 15 years for that

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | July 28, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Well if you are reminded of him shooting the cops you should also be reminded of the fact they were beating the stuffing out of him first. don't pick and choose he did about 15 years for that"
Posted by: bigheadbull2

=============================

I wasn't there at the police station and I can't say what happened, can you? "beat the stuffing" out of him, you claim?

The only two people who could have testified what REALLY happened, Officer Albert M. Claggett IV, 26, who left behind a wife and two small boys, and Officer James B. Swart, 25, died after being shot to death. Dead is forever.

Terrance Johnson was convicted of manslaughter, not murder. The jury believed his story even though there was no evidence he was beaten by the two dead cops after their autopsies. Nothing.

He was released from prison where he earned his G.E.D., an Associate of Arts degree from Anne Arundel Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Morgan State University.

On June 26, 1978 the two law enforcement officers were killed by Terrance Johnson. Terrence Johnson killed himself during a bank robbery in 1997. He never used the B.S. degree Maryland taxpayers paid for.

Enough hard facts for you?

Posted by: cibor | July 28, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

This individual should be treated as an adult. He did an adult crime so he needs to do the adult time. It doesn't matter if he is black, white, pink or purple he committed a crime so he needs to do the time. For those who are trying to separate the issue by age, I bet if it were a very close member of your family you would be seeking for the death sentence for this person.

Posted by: justmyopinion49 | July 28, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

And something else why are you trying to put this on a lady that is trying to make a living for herself, working. Again, blaming the victim. What would be the excuse if she was over powered and was 30 years old. Then what ??

Posted by: justmyopinion49 | July 28, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

easily explained, bipolar. Gets you a check each month, pays your medical bills, houses you, feeds you. Yup, bipolar, didn't mean to do it. There is 2 kinds of spirits in this world, Godly and Satanic.

Posted by: keen_dan | July 28, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

blasmaic wrote: "And if the 65 year old female had been a 35 year old male, then the student would be sitting still in class today."

"The kid should sue the state for placing in charge of him a person who couldn't defend herself, let alone control him."

Please sir, go over to the East Capitol Bridge, climb over the edge, and nose dive into the Anacostia River. You speak nonsense!!!

Kid should sue because he was placed in the care of an elderly person? Where did you come up with this? The kid is an out of control savage and should be treated as such. Keep him caged!!! He is of no benefit to society and I am sure he is never going to be rehabilitated.


Posted by: Chazo | July 28, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Why should this woman have to defend herself at work trying to help this boy to be a better person in society. Her life has ended and so should his.

Posted by: justmyopinion49 | July 28, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm CERTAIN that this rapist/murderer HAS to be Black. After all, EVERYONE knows that whites never commit heinous crimes. Well, at least the first poster here seems to know that.

Posted by: gsross | July 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

It's tragic and sickening, but a 13 year old, who probably has zero education, most likely an IQ of about 75, and is confined in an institution, is not an adult. You can't assume that such a person is capable of rational, responsible, or moral decisions. Blame the guilty party as you should and must, but this was also a terrible breach of the institution's duty to maintain a secure environment. Having freedom of movement is not the same as going unsupervised, as this kid obviously was. JMO.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | July 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Were it ANY other state than Maryland I'd say butter him up, he's toast. But since its MD he will likely walk free at age 21 with "a chance to start his life over".
Something his victim won't have a chance of...
Lets face it folks...the world is simply a better and safer place without some people in it. If a disproportionate amount are minorities then too bad. By their very definition they shouldn't be a higher percentage than they make up of society anyway...right?
Stop trying to "fix" all of these clowns and start thinning the herd a bit.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | July 28, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hannah Wheeling, who was a general studies teacher at the Cheltenham Youth Facility, is dead. She was beaten and raped.

Instead of offering up possible excuses to try to lessen this horrible crime by this inmate, we should think about her, her family, and her co-workers who still have to come to work there.

And yes, steps must be taken to ensure this lack of security never happens again at any detention facility in Maryland.

"The boy was big enough to have overpowered Wheeling, according to law enforcement sources." So why was he still in a cottage outside ther fence? Because he had "no known history of mental illness or such violent crimes as murder, assault, and sexual offenses"?

Posted by: cibor | July 28, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Put him to death. And then charge his parents and put them in prison for life ensuring they never breed again....Then close this day care center and ship these losers off to a real prison. Why bother trying to coddle them they are bound to spend the rest of their lives in prison so they nay as well get use to it.

Posted by: askgees | July 28, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

black rage

Posted by: rockbroker | July 28, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

No cut card Junior...you gotta go.

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 28, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This is no more than some harmless youthful indescretion. The kid should not be charged. This is not a big deal at all, but an bad attempt at sex education by the teacher.

Posted by: mebakeoven | July 28, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

RealityCheckerInEffect, rockbroker, slim2:

Racist much, kiddies? There is absolutely NO mention of the boy's race in this column. Yet, you automatically assume he is black. Nice. Maybe his is. He may not be. Regardless, what does that have to do with this incident? The young man is being accused of committing a horrible crime. If found guilty, he should be punished accordingly. That is the whole of it. Justice wears a blindfold, remember?

Posted by: jromaniello | July 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I neither know nor care what this boy's race is; he's 'forfeited' all "human rights" in any sane society. Another case that may have a striking similarity in a year or two is pending in Indianapolis:

About a month ago a poor, disadvantaged black youth was tasered multiple times when he failed to comply with several policemens' requests. His social group protested enough about "over zealous" police behavior that it made headlines and brought the blessed Al Sharpton to town to right all wrongs. What was never published in the Indianapolis Star or aired on the mainstream media was that this little waif weighed 200#s and had already been arrested at least ten times for various offenses.

Should he still be coddled?

Posted by: pedro2 | July 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

They can deny it all they want, but I have no doubt, it's in the genes. These 13-14 year old, 6'4" goons are like pit bulls. You never know when they are going to go haywire and murder/rape. These people are born without a conscience. They cannot feel sorrow or remorse. They were bred--not born to loving parents.

Posted by: wlkelly | July 28, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

ACLU and NAACP

Someone mentioned that these two organizations would attempt to help this suspect.

But the writer offered no explanation why.

This is just an attempt to smear these fine organizations.

Posted by: sufi66 | July 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The kid's wiring is bad. He is not salvageable. Put him down like a rabid animal.

There should be little discussion about this. Extradite him to VA or Texas if need be. Society should never be forced to deal with this monster.

Thank you.

Posted by: dedlinetosilverspring | July 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Who in the entire process did not know that the 13 year old was violent and impulsive?

What steps did the state take to assure that if the 13 year old became violent, he would be properly restrained before he could harm himself or others?

Under the law, a minor is as legally competent as a mentally insane person. And we don't place mentally insane people into situations where they can accomplish harm.

The rape and murder were entirely preventable by the state, not by the employee who could not defend herself or control the child or by the minor who is not legally competent.

The families of both the child and the deceased have a claim against the state.

Posted by: blasmaic | July 28, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone stopped to realize that a 13 yr. old is still just a kid?? Someone (be it a parent(s), guardian, or society) has failed this child. We should all be scratching our heads at this alleged rape attempt from a 13 yr. old boy-- he may be the size of a small man, but still a stranger to sexual impulses, whatever his background may be. If we are this quick to condemn a boy for not being a model citizen at 13 yrs of age, then we all deserve to rot in a prison for not collectively working to fix the problems that plague our society. This child is a victim of what our society has become. A cog in a decadent wheel. Kids that age don't just come out rotten at the core, they spoil from the conditions of their environment.

Posted by: edkim24 | July 28, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

People with college degrees commit "violent" crimes all the time: look at people in BP and on Wall Street

Posted by: whitaker200 | July 28, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I think that when kids have obviously gone criminal at a young age, then they need to be put into a "do whatever it takes" facility to make them fit for society. Keep upping the ante -- extra chores, no privileges, paddling, solitary, whipping, flogging, waterboarding, electrocution, frontal lobotomy -- until the person conforms to reasonable standards of behavior.

I know what you're thinking: "Oh my God, this crazy poster just suggested frontal lobotomy!" But think about it. If a young male were actually so hell-bent on doing evil that he fought society all the way to the frontal lobotomy stage, then wouldn't that really be the kindest solution?

Anyone older than 40 remembers reform schools and therefore knows that the mere existence of a "do whatever it takes" facility would deter 80% of juvenile delinquency, and a few weeks' stay would take care of another 15%. (And it would also remove the discipline problem from our public schools.) The remaining 5% could receive the intense therapy, counseling, medication, supervision, discipline, and yes, love that they need to not turn out as animals in human form. The "nuclear options" I've listed above would never be used, yet always threatened as available if necessary.

Would this be costly? Not nearly as costly as the way we're doing things now. And we'd be spending our precious money on saving children in extreme danger of becoming non-humans. As it is now, we let them stay in our schools and terrorize everyone until 18, then lock them up and throw away the key until they die 60 years later. What a waste!

Posted by: dmm1 | July 28, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow look at the lynch mob,Did any of you rocket scientists take a minute to imagine that the kid is innocent. Im glad attorneys get to screen jurors before they let the serve. Some of you guys have the kid convicted without knowing His motivation,mental state,Was he being sexually abused and something went wrong?perhaps he was being framed. My point is you guys are making assumptions on a little bit of evidence that was mentioned in a very short artical. Do you know how many facts will be presented in a trial if there is one? Some of you guys really sare me.For a 13 year old to do something like this if he even did,Wouldnt you think there might be some circumstances? Some of you are even commention or assuming his race as a factor,which is repulsive to day the least.We are talkiing about a thirteen year old troubled kid for christ sakes.Dosnt anyone think its a tragedy in itself that a 13 year old is in this position to begin with?if hes guilty or innocent but some of you guys think you know.position to begin with? I dont know how can any of you say with a degree of cirtainty that you do.

Posted by: realestate_leader | July 28, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

If he did it, he should be locked up for life. This was no impulsive or involuntary manslaughter. At 13, kids know murder is wrong, no matter how poor or uneducated they are. And if he doesn't know that, he's too retarded to be living outside an institution anyway.

Posted by: cpwdc | July 28, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Kill him.

Posted by: veerle1 | July 28, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

"People with college degrees commit "violent" crimes all the time: look at people in BP and on Wall Street"

___________________________________


They should die as well.

Posted by: veerle1 | July 28, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I knew right from wrong when I was 14.
And I didn't see any mention of races in here either, wouldn't have mattered if I did.

This is one dangerous boy. I cannot imagine what kind of man he will be.

Posted by: ThePoliticalStraycom | July 28, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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