Reporting Mike Hellgren
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The 15-year-old accused of shooting a classmate at Perry Hall High School last year will be tried as an adult.
Mike Hellgren details troubling new evidence in the case.
That evidence includes recordings the young defendant made after the shooting and chilling confessions he made at the scene. Being tried as an adult is a huge loss for his defense.
Robert Gladden Jr., 15, will be tried as an adult, despite pleading with the judge that he was troubled, bullied and truly sorry for opening fire in the Perry Hall High School cafeteria on the first day of school last August–sending the campus into chaos and injuring classmate Daniel Borowy, who was shot but survived.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare, it’s horrifying,” a parent said.
The judge evaluated hours of recorded statements, including some chilling new comments Gladden made after the shooting: that he wished he was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary where more than two dozen people were killed last December.
The judge also learned Gladden was sending letters to notorious mass murderer Charles Manson.
A big issue will be whether any of Gladden’s statements to police at the scene are admissible at trial. They did not read him his Miranda rights.
One officer said Gladden told him, “Can I get the death penalty for this? I wanted to kill him. I wanted to commit suicide.” He told another officer he warned two of his friends just before the shooting to “get out of the cafeteria and get anyone out who you care about because people are going to get hurt.”
Gladden’s Facebook page also displayed warning signs. He wrote: “First day of school, last day of my life” and called the Columbine High School shooters–Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold–inspirations.
Gladden’s lawyer said the teen had a rough life at home and isn’t evil; that he just needs comprehensive mental health care. He now faces life in an adult prison.
“What he was doing was acting out in a terrible fashion in hopes that someone other than him would pull the trigger on him, and he would perish,” said defense attorney Clarke Ahlers.
In court, Gladden still had his long hair, and he was drawing on a legal pad during much of the testimony from several police witnesses.
The trial is scheduled to begin later this month.