Two suspects in the rock-throwing rampage on the Capital Beltway last month were each indicted yesterday on 90 criminal counts in attacks on 21 people, including Destiny Morris, 15, who remains in a coma caused when she was struck by a rock.
A Prince George's County grand jury charged Maurice Edward Ford and John Lavon Burgess, both 18, with numerous counts of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to maim, assault with intent to disable, assault and battery, and malicious destruction of property.
Conviction on the most serious of the charges, assault with intent to murder, carries a maximum penalty of 30 years. Each suspect, if convicted on all of the 90 counts, could face a sentence of more than 500 years in prison.
Police say Ford and Burgess are two of the three people who hurled landscaping rocks weighing five to 15 pounds at motorists on the Beltway near Livingston Road in Oxon Hill about 2:30 a.m. May 27.
One of the rocks thrown by the assailants crashed through the window of a pickup truck, striking Destiny, a passenger who was sleeping at the time.
Destiny, who initially was not expected to survive, recently opened her eyes, and has recovered to the point that she no longer requires intensive care, according to Southern Maryland Hospital officials. She does not, however, respond to commands.
Destiny was moved Monday to the New Medico Meadowlands hospital, a head injury rehabilitation facility in Canonsburg, Pa. She is undergoing a 30-day intensive review, in which she will be the subject of rigorous testing aimed at developing a proper rehabilitation plan, according to John Webber, a spokesman for the hospital.
At the request of Destiny's parents, the hospital is not releasing further information about her condition, Webber said. Destiny is expected to remain at the hospital for several months.
Other people in cars hit by rocks suffered arm and jaw fractures, concussions, black eyes, cuts and lacerations, and bruises, according to court records.
Ford, a graduate of Oxon Hill High School, gave police "a full and complete statement detailing the incident" after his arrest, including that he and his friends got drunk in celebration of his graduation before they went rock-throwing, according to a police affidavit. The affidavit also states that Ford identified his two alleged accomplices.
Ford and Burgess, both of Oxon Hill, were released on bond after their bail, initially set at $150,000, was reduced to $25,000. Until their trial, they are under home detention and are only allowed to leave their residences for work, school or to attend church. No trial date has been set.
Ford is being defended by the Public Defender's Office. James Joyner, Burgess' lawyer, did not return phone calls.
The third suspect in the case, a 17-year-old, is awaiting a July 13 hearing to decide whether he will be charged as a juvenile or an adult. The suspect, who is three months away from his 18th birthday, is being held at Boys Village, a state facility for juveniles in Cheltenham.
He is charged with assault with intent to murder. If convicted as a juvenile, he would be held at a juvenile detention center until he turns 21.