Teen Tried to Hire Hit Man, Police Say

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A 16-year-old in St. Mary's County offered a truck to have his mother and stepfather killed, authorities said yesterday.

But he made the proposal at a meeting in a Lexington Park hotel room to an undercover detective posing as an assassin, authorities said. According to detectives, the youth told the fake hit man that the truck belonged to his stepfather and that he specifically wanted his stepfather and mother shot.

Authorities have charged the youth as an adult with two counts of attempted murder. They said he was being held yesterday in the county jail.

Detectives declined to identify the suspect. They said the mother and stepfather live in the community of Valley Lee.

The youth apparently had moved out of their home, was staying with a friend and was upset about his mother's and stepfather's efforts to control him, police said.

"We believe . . . he had hostility towards them because of disciplinary issues," said Lt. Rick Burris, who commands a St. Mary's investigation unit made up of detectives from the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police.

Burris said that on May 28, the youth told an acquaintance he wanted to find someone to kill his mother and stepfather. That conversation was relayed to authorities five days later, on Saturday. Working quickly, detectives set up a sting.

"We didn't want him to make contact with someone who would do it," Burris said.

Authorities got him to the hotel room, where he met with a detective who normally works undercover.

Investigators were monitoring the conversation. Burris said the teen said enough to make his intentions well known, though Burris provided few details.

It was unclear whether the suspect went to school.

Burris, who has worked in St. Mary's for 22 years, said that detectives have posed as hit men in similar cases but couldn't recall one in which the suspect was so young.

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