A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the intentional murder of a Maryland officer after running her over with a Jeep when she attempted to arrest him. The entire incident was caught on the officer’s body camera. It shows the teen accelerating as he aimed for the officer.
Now, three other teens have been arrested at their homes in connection with the same incident. Ranging from 15 to 17 years of age, all three teens will be charged with burglary and first-degree homicide, even though they weren’t in the Jeep when the tragedy happened. They were actually inside one of the nearby suburban homes, robbing it.
The driver of the Jeep was presumably acting as both a lookout and a getaway driver for the others during the burglary. Unfortunately for the other three teens, the law makes all burglary accomplices equally guilty when someone dies as a result of one person’s actions during the crime.
Criminal defense attorneys are attempting to keep the driver of the Jeep from being charged in adult court. So far, prosecutors are insisting on removing the trial from the juvenile process due to the defendant’s prior criminal history. The defendant is being held in an adult jail, likely due to his escapes from lower-security juvenile detention. He was supposed to be on house arrest and was wearing an ankle monitor when he participated in this crime.
This sort of incident highlights a facet of criminal law that many people don’t understand. Accomplices often think that they cannot be charged with anything serious simply because they have a minor part in whatever crime is committed. Unfortunately for them, the law treats everyone acting together in the commission of a crime as equally responsible for all parts of the crime. That means if one person turns a nonviolent crime into something like murder, everyone involved pays the price for that one person’s mistake.
Source: TIME, “4 Teens Charged With Murder After Allegedly Running Over and Killing Female Officer,” David McFadden and Sarah Rankin, May 23, 2018