UPDATE (4:34 p.m.)—Adult charges will stand against the student accused of opening fire inside Perry Hall High School on the first day of school, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert Cahill, Jr. announced Friday morning.
"The court can reasonably expect that if placed in treatment with juveniles, he would lack candor with therapists ... he would bully other juveniles ... he would act in a defiant, hostile and disinterested way," Cahill said.
"He is not the least bit interested in treatment and not the least bit motivated to change," he said.
The announcement came at the close of a three-day juvenile waiver hearing, that had been postponed twice and stretched across two weeks. A criminal trial for 15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. in adult court remains scheduled to begin on Feb. 19.
In an unexpected and hotly debated portion of the closing arguments, Gladden pleaded with the court that he was remorseful, had been bullied and would be best served in the juvenile system.
"My name is Bobby Gladden. I am 15 years old. I'm here today because I made the dumbest, stupidist mistake ... I was not myself and I was out of my mind ... people talked about me behind my back and called me a freak and a weirdo ... I know that is not an excuse for what I did and I am truly sorry ... I want to be able to move on and I want help ... I just want to make the best for myself. I know I can change. Please give me one more chance. I'm not a risk to anyone," Gladden said.
He also said he would like to meet the shooting victim and apologize to him.
Gladden was initially charged as an adult with nine counts of first-degree attempted murder, among other charges, in the Aug. 27 incident that left special needs student Daniel Borowy seriously injured.
If the court had decided to instead charge Gladden as a juvenile, he could have faced significantly less jail time, a full release by age 21 and protection from media access to his criminal trial, Gladden's defense attorney George Psoras said during the hearing.
While the first portion of the hearing on Jan. 30 focused on Gladden's troubled formative years and psychiatric evaluations, the proceedings on Jan. 31 included portions of from the Baltimore County Detention Center in recent months.
The recordings, as presented by Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney John Cox, focused on Gladden saying that he intended more shooting victims, that he was not a victim of bullying, felt little remorse for the shooting, and preferred being imprisoned with adults instead of children or teenagers.
The judge extended the hearing to Feb. 8 in order to ensure that Psoras had ample time to collect recordings to support Gladden's proposed transfer to juvenile court.
Psoras, however, did not present any new recordings on the last day of the hearing. Instead, he informed the judge that Gladden had requested to deliver the closing arguments.
Over the course of several minutes, Psoras and the judge explained to Gladden that by speaking, he was giving up his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The judge also insisted that anything he said during the closing arguments would be used against him court.
Cox also reviewed with the court the legal implications of Gladden speaking.
Gladden was given several opportunities to choose not to speak.
During his statement, which he read from a sheet of paper, Gladden called the shooting the "dumbest, stupidist mistake" and said students had talked about him behind his back. He also expressed a desire to change and to be sent to juvenile court.
Gladden's statement was followed by Cox's closing arguments, in which he outlined the five thresholds for evaluating trying a juvenile in adult court: age, mental and physical condition, amenability to treatment, nature of the crime and public safety.
According to Cox, the only criteria in which Gladden was not clearly in line with an adult conviction was age. Cox then provided examples to support Gladden's mental competency and at least average IQ, his robust physical condition, his apparent opposition to treatment, his alleged actions during the shooting, which Cox called a "nightmare to all who entered Perry Hall High School," and professional opinions that Gladden would be an ongoing threat to public safety.
"When you look at someone with a conduct disorder, it is an individual behaving badly ... this is about a bad person who chooses to behave badly," Cox said.
"[Gladden] actually said, 'I like scaring people—scaring people is funny.' That's a quote," he said.
Cox added that since the shooting, while in treatment and in the detention center, Gladden has few recorded examples of remorse, has mocked religious people and has been shown to draw satanic stars and has written "666" on objects.
Psoras followed with his rebuttal.
The judge asked Psoras to rein in his rebuttal and not to focus on the prosecutor's personality after Psoras began with the statement, "Thank the Lord that Mr. Cox is not the judge, jury and executioner because there would be a public hanging out here in the courtyard."
Psoras then explained that he believed the reports and evaluations on Gladden were unnecessarily harsh, and that treatment workers and law enforcement professionals presented less harsh views of Gladden under cross examination.
"When they spoke, they said very different things than they wrote," Psoras said.
"Mr. Cox wants to say, once a criminal, always a criminal, but people can change," he said. "How do we know Bobby is amenable to treatment? He told you himself that he wants to change and get well."
Psoras said Gladden's prescription of Prozac had brought about dramatic behavioral improvements.
"He's like any other teenager," he added. "Bobby is not a risk to anyone in this room, in this community or the world. We have five and a half years to treat him."
The judge then delivered a lengthy explanation on why Gladden's case crossed the five thresholds to justify his adult charges.
Cahill said he relied heavily on professional evaluations and reports on Gladden from before and after the shooting. He also reviewed extensive video recordings and recorded telephone conversations involving Gladden at the detention center.
Gladden's behavioral problems began as early as kindergarten, the judge said, where a teacher first pointed out that he did not like to follow directions and would rarely complete assignments.
Problems continued between fifth grade and ninth grade, during which Gladden was suspended at least nine times, usually for attacking other students, the judge said.
While suicides and death in his family and his parents' divorce likely contributed to his problems, Gladden made his own decision to react with violence, Cahill said.
While medication may be currently improving Gladden's behavior, there is no guarantee that it would remain effective in the long term, the judge said.
"The court is not convinced that Prozac would take care of all of Mr. Gladden's problems, or ensure public safety," he said.
Cahill criticized the defense for claiming that Gladden would be raped or murdered in an adult detention center. "The idea of wholesale rapes and killings does not add substance to this case," Cahill said.
Cahill repeatedly referenced phone conversations from the detention center between Gladden and family members.
"He expressed admiration of Hitler and made light of the Sandy Hook shootings," the judge said.
During calls, Gladden also complained about treatment workers, family members, his attorney, media coverage of the shooting and at one point said, "No one can get through to me," according to the judge.
"I think we can agree that there are two Robert Gladdens. One who says he was bullied and wants treatment, but that is not the one who is shown in phone conversations," he said.
"He does things logically ... he thinks like an adult ... he employs manipulation to achieve his ends," Cahill said.
Members of Gladden's family were visibly and audibly upset by the decision to try him in adult court.
Cox's team confirmed that Gladden's criminal trial would begin, as scheduled, on Feb. 19.
Check Patch for updates on the judge's opinion and closing arguments from the prosecutor and defense.