BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan slammed judges Thursday for giving lenient sentences to repeat, violent juvenile offenders.
His comments follow the arrest of 17-year-old Mikayal Hendricks for the murder of 73-year-old Lawrence “Tony” Price.
Hendricks’ mother says her son was on probation after a carjacking last summer at the time he was charged in the killing.
“It’s outrageous, and the blame lies with the judicial system,” said Governor Hogan.
The teen suspect’s mother told WJZ she repeatedly tried to notify state juvenile services officials that her son violated his curfew and even cut off his monitoring bracelet.
“I would call one person’s number to get another person’s number because this person didn’t know who to talk to, so I’d call this person to find out who to talk to. They never showed up. I called 10, 15 times,” she said.
But Hendricks’ mother, who asked that her name not be used, said she does not believe her son shot Price.
She said she continually got the runaround from state authorities.
“The very first night he stayed out all night, I called them. He didn’t come in. Y’all coming to get him? ‘Oh, no, ma’am. We’ve got to go through a process.’”
The mother said, “You look at your kids, and you don’t know what happens. You just don’t. He don’t come from a house where people sell drugs and there’s violence.“
Last year, several people in the community asked that Hendricks’ carjacking charges remain in stricter adult court but a judge instead moved him to the juvenile system.
According to charging documents, on October 4, Price was stopped at a red light at 4400 Liberty Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore when he was shot after an argument.
“Somebody who’s done a terrible violent act or a repeat violent offender needs to be put in jail rather than on house arrest or on ankle monitoring,” the governor said.
The victim’s daughter told WJZ she believes the juvenile justice system “is not working.” But she said she has sympathy for the suspect’s mother, who tried to get her son help.
“The court system in Baltimore is continually being very lenient and letting people who should not be released back onto the streets—they’re continuing to put them out,“ said Governor Hogan.
Another recent high-profile murder case also involved a teenager on home monitoring at the time.
In May, police said 16-year-old Dawnta Harris ran over and killed Baltimore County Officer Amy Caprio in a stolen Jeep.
His mother also said she fought for her son to be detained in a secure facility, but a judge denied that.
When he went missing while on electronic monitoring, she said she was informed the bracelet had no GPS tracking device to find him.
A recent report by the Abell Foundation found a lack of transparency in Baltimore’s juvenile court system.
“Case outcomes for youth charged with violent crimes appear to be driven by a small number of individual judges in a process that is not very transparent,” the report stated.