A Montgomery County jury was dismissed for the second day of deliberation in the case of a Rockville teen accused of helping plan a shooting at the Rockville Metro station in May.
The jury was sent into deliberation after closing arguments in the case at 4:30 p.m. Friday and was dismissed at 9:30 p.m. without reaching a verdict. The jury met again Monday at 9:30 a.m. and remained in deliberation for another six and a half hours before Judge Mary Beth McCormick again dismissed them at 4 p.m., citing a prior obligation on her part that would not allow her to keep them later.
“Sometimes a good night’s sleep is very helpful in reaching a decision,” McCormick told the jurors, many of whom expressed their displeasure at the dismissal with sighs and groans.
The case involves an attempted first-degree murder charge against 18-year-old Tavares D. Harris, who is accused of providing the gun used in a shooting May 18 at the Rockville Metro station. Kevin Nguyen, Harris’ 17-year-old co-defendant, was identified by police as the shooter in the case, but Harris also is alleged to have helped plan the shooting.
The victim, one of Harris and Nguyen’s classmates, was shot four times and survived his injuries. A female bystander also was struck once and also survived.
Harris was charged with two counts each of attempted first- and second-degree murder, first-degree assault and two handgun offenses as well as one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
At the close of testimony, McCormick acquitted Harris of one count each of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, a handgun offense and a first-degree assault charge, all of which stemmed from the second victim, the female bystander.
Defense attorneys David Martella and Barry Helfand argued for those charges to be dropped on the basis of a 1993 case that they believe determined a person cannot be charged for crimes resulting from injuries or offenses done to a bystander if the bystander survives.
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office, said his office disagreed with the judge’s decision to acquit Harris of those charges at the time of the ruling. He cited current Maryland criminal pattern jury instructions upholding the office’s position, but was unable to comment in detail on the ruling because the jury still had not reached a verdict as of Monday.
Both prosecutors and Harris’ defense attorneys agreed to let the jury go and have them return Tuesday morning.
“It’s been a long day, we’d like them to come back fresh tomorrow,” Martella told McCormick.