UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - "He’s 15," Baby K's attorney pleaded Thursday in an attempt to have his teenage client held in a juvenile detention facility.
But the judge clearly disagreed, and instead, ordered him to be held — without bond — in an adult detention center.
Assistant State's Attorney Sherrie Waldrup said the crime the teen is accused of shocked the nation. She called it a "coordinated and sophisticated attack."
"So, I’ve watched the video many times, and it’s really – it’s chilling. It’s horrifying," Waldrup said. "I think seeing the continued effort, the aiming, the pulling of the trigger, the racking, hearing the bullets dropping to the ground – to see that over and over and over again, really gets across exactly what these three young men wanted to do that day."
Despite the prosecutor's sentiments in court Thursday, it doesn’t mean Baby K's case will definitely be tried as an adult. He's expected to be indicted in circuit court. His attorney can then file a request for a waiver hearing, and that’s when a judge will finally decide.
FOX 5 as a station is not using Baby K's real name yet for this reason.
His attorney, Keith Showstack, told the judge that Baby K was on his way to Showstack’s Baltimore Avenue law office when the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force unexpectedly arrived and arrested him. Showstack said the 15-year-old was planning to turn himself in.
"This is not a game. This is not a rap video. This is life and life has consequences," said Prince George’s County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy, vowing to pursue the case "to the fullest extent of the law."
D.C. is planning to seek charges against Baby K for first-degree murder while armed in the homicide of a co-defendant’s sister. The Attorney General’s Office can’t legally speak on specific juvenile cases but shed more light on the procedure.
If a youth is charged as an adult in another jurisdiction, it apparently doesn’t change how D.C. prosecutes the youth – and there is no legal avenue where prosecutors can seek extradition as an adult. In D.C., a prosecutor would also need to essentially petition a judge to allow the 15-year-old to be charged as an adult. The same rules do not apply to 16 and 17-year-olds.
FOX 5 asked if there is any kind of timeline for filing in order to transfer a juvenile to the adult system. We were pointed to DC Code 16-2307 (a), which reads: "Within twenty-one days (excluding Sundays and legal holidays) of the filing of a delinquency petition, or later for good cause shown, and prior to a factfinding hearing on the petition, the Corporation Counsel may file a motion, supported by a statement of facts, requesting transfer of the child for criminal prosecution…"
The D.C. Attorney General’s Office will not answer whether they’ve issued a custody order for Baby K. Maryland officials told FOX 5 they have not seen an extradition hearing scheduled.
After hearing concerns on this case, Braveboy said Thursday her office is planning to launch a truancy initiative next week – working with the school system on truant students after we learned Wednesday that officials were unable to verify what school Baby K went to.
Officials think he was just left to roam the streets.
She’s also planning to meet with lawmakers on the change to juvenile law that she says is slowing down officials from getting critical information from juveniles arrested. Under recent juvenile justice reform changes, police have to get permission from an attorney – not the parent – to interview a juvenile suspect.
Prince George’s County officials discussed failures and complications when they met Wednesday morning to discuss the arrest of Baby K – the 15-year-old fugitive who evaded law enforcement for nearly a month after allegedly trying to shoot another teen on a public school bus three times.
"It is my sincere hope he will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," said Prince George's County Police Chief Malik Aziz. "Many of you have seen the photos or videos of the crime committed on a school bus, a place where no child or employee should fear or his or her safety. The crime shocked this community. It shocked even the most veteran law enforcement officer."
On May 1, a school bus had just stopped on Iverson Street and Sutler Drive in Oxon Hill when police said three suspects boarded and began to attack a student. Court documents revealed that the gunman, Baby K, pulled the trigger multiple times but it jammed, saving the victim's life.
Prior to Tuesday, police had arrested two teenage boys (15 and 14 years old) for the assault and a 14-year-old girl, who was charged in connection with allegedly setting up the attack. All three are currently being charged as adults.
Police and court officials are not naming the juveniles until a judge confirms their cases will remain in the adult system.
Chief Aziz said Baby K was alone and unarmed when members of the U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force (CARFTF) picked up the 15-year-old at around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday by the 6300 block of Baltimore Ave. in the Riverdale area.
As far as the chief was aware, Baby K did not try to alter his identity by doing something like shaving his hair.
"You know, it’s like when you go looking for your car keys. Sometimes, they be right in your face but you just don’t see them," the victim’s mother told FOX 5 by phone. "I think it was one of those circumstances because he was not far at all. He was still in Maryland, in P.G. county. He was about 30 minutes from where the incident happened so that’s just crazy."
She described being relieved and happy to learn of the arrest.
The last time FOX 5 spoke with her, the victim’s mother had set up a GoFundMe trying to fundraise to get her son out of the area.
She called the suspect a "coward" after her son was left with a laceration to his temple and an indentation of the gun in his head along with other injuries from the violent beating police say he took.
How did Baby K hide out for nearly a month? Officials said that is now part of the investigation.
"It would be my belief that if we can prove that adults were helping a 15-year-old elude the justice arm of the law, then that person also … There’s accountability for everyone," Chief Aziz said.
County leaders also noted a significant complication in their investigation. During the time of the press conference, Chief Aziz mentioned police still hadn’t gotten a chance to speak with the arrested 15-year-old yet.
The chief spoke about how he understood the reasons for it. However, he also spoke to how recent statewide changes to Maryland’s juvenile laws are impeding the police investigation on this case and others. Under the updated law, attorneys (not parents) must give permission for police to interview/interrogate any juvenile suspect.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks was asked whether juvenile justice reform has gone too far.
"There is a hindrance in terms of investigating cases as you’ve heard, and that it’s becoming more and more difficult to hold juveniles accountable. And I think the public cares about that," Alsobrooks said. "The other hindrance that cannot be ignored is that we have 15 and 14-year-olds running about our community at 1, 2, 3 o’clock in the morning armed and dangerous — unaccountable and unafraid."
In this case you know we have a kid who, if we look at it honestly, is both victim and perpetrator. Clearly you’re victim. We can’t determine whether he was registered in school, where he lived. I mean it was — this kid was roaming about apparently unsupervised and dangerous and armed and a good question is how is that allowed to happen?"
How the suspect's parents are held accountable will be up to those investigating the case, the county executive stated.
Alsobrooks and State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy hailed the bus driver a hero for not leaving and eventually getting the bus to a safe location where she called the police and got the victim life-saving help.
Sources told FOX 5 that authorities may be seeking charges against Baby K as a juvenile in connection with the murder of a D.C. woman days after the bus assault. Sources previously told FOX 5 that the young woman killed was the sister of one of the co-defendants arrested.
The D.C. Attorney General’s Office would not confirm this due to District juvenile privacy laws.
The two other teens are also being charged with attempted murder. A 14-year-old girl, accused of setting up the attack, was also taken into custody. All are currently being held without bond.
Baby K has a preliminary hearing schedule for June 14, but that hearing date is expected to change once a circuit court indictment is returned.