Teenager gets 10 years in assault near Linthicum light rail

The older of two Halethorpe teenagers charged in an attack that sparked an outcry to shut the Linthicum light rail station pleaded guilty Wednesday to his role in the beating and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner ordered that Dana Patrick West Jr., 19, "not be found anywhere within a mile of any light rail station within the state of Maryland" while on five years' probation after his release.

"I am not a menace," West said in court. He said he was "under the influence" during the mugging. A family friend said the assault was out of character for West, and his mother asked that he get whatever help he needs.

Hackner said he'd seen few assault cases featuring "violence as vicious and as gratuitous" as in this one, handing down the maximum 25 years but suspending 15 of them. He recommended West for evaluation for treatment.

The midday attack on Feb. 12 on a 59-year-old man walking along the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail, on his way to a library, ignited outrage by some people in northern Anne Arundel County because it occurred near the light rail station.

Some residents complained that the train gives criminals an express ride into the community, and the Maryland Transit Administration has said it is considering closing the station at 8 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.

But officials never learned whether West or his 15-year-old accomplice used the light rail to get to Linthicum. MTA officials have said surveillance cameras aboard trains and at the station did not capture the suspects or the robbery.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Dunty said in court that the teenagers so viciously punched and kicked the victim that he suffered a broken nose, eye socket and cheekbone, three broken vertebrae and a fractured rib.

Dunty said the man has suffered migraines and has permanent lip damage, and will need surgery to realign his teeth. "He said every time he eats, it's an issue," Dunty said. He said the victim was too upset to come to court.

The muggers took the man's cellphone and wallet, which along with a box cutter were found on the younger accomplice.

West was on a year's probation at the time of the mugging, having received probation before judgment in a Baltimore theft case last year. He is also charged with violating the terms of his probation in that case.

The 15-year-old has admitted his involvement in Anne Arundel County juvenile court, and in April was sent to a residential youth facility.

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