Perry Hall Shooter Sentenced To 35 Years
Robert Gladden, 15, shot a classmate at Perry Hall High School in August.
(Update 4:34 p.m.)—Perry Hall High School shooter Robert Gladden Jr., 15, was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday.
Gladden was given a life sentence with all but 35 years suspended on an attempted first-degree murder charge, and 20 years to run concurrently for the use of a firearm during a violent act. He had pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 19
The other 27 counts against the teenager were dropped.
Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert Cahill Jr. questioned the sincerity of Gladden's proclaimed remorse ahead of the sentencing, citing that the teenager made disturbing remarks in previous telephone recordings.
"Frankly, I don't know if I find those expressions of remorse to be credible," Cahill said.
The judge also criticized Gladden's defense attorney George Psoras for excessively blaming the school system and overstating the impact of bullying.
"This conduct was not a consequence of him being bullied," he said.
Cahill also called Psoras' assertion that Daniel Borowy, a special needs student who was seriously injured following the Aug. 27 attack, benefited from the attack "borderline offensive." Borowy had received correspondences from his music idol Lady Gaga and First Lady Michelle Obama among other notable figures, as well as an outpouring of community support.
The judge said he also heard no testimony that connected Gladden's diagnoses of attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and depression with the shooting incident.
"The link between those things have not been established," he said.
Cahill was also moved by the testimony of Kathleen Watkins, a Perry Hall administrator who was monitoring the cafeteria where the shooting occurred. Testimony he said gave insight into the minds of what he called the other victims, Perry Hall staff and students at the scene.
"He was looking at me dead in the eyes...I was looking right down the barrel," Watkins said. "I think I was the next convenient target."
Guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer and other school staff intervened before the attack could continue, she said.
Watkins continued her victim impact statement by explaining the terror the 500 students in the cafeteria faced on that day—a terror she said continues to haunt the school community to this day.
"The impact on our school is just amazing," she said.
In seeking leniency ahead of the sentencing, Psoras repeatedly stated that Gladden is only a child, and asked Cahill not to exceed 30 years in his sentencing with all but 15 suspended.
"That's a lifetime," Psoras said. "Bobby Gladden is 15. That's a lifetime."
Gladden read a letter to the Borowy family expressing his apologies for the attack before Cahill handed down the sentence.
"If I didn't tell you, you might believe what the media is saying about me being a cold-hearted monster," he said.
Stay with Patch for updates.
Local Editor Adam Bednar contributed to this report.