Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said yesterday that the secrecy provisions of Virginia juvenile law which kept the public from learning details of the highly-publicized death last year of 12-year-old Billy Viscidi are "foolish" and "detrimental to the public interest."
Speaking at a meeting of the Northern Virginia Press Club, Horan said he was still bound by the "absolutely ridiculous" juvenile law and could not refer by name to the "juvenile" cleared of involvement in the July 25 death.
That "juvenile," Billy's 15-year-old brother Larry, was cleared Jan. 19 when a Fairfax juvenile court judge ruled that the evidence against Larry was not sufficient for a conviction for involuntary manslaughter.
Billy Viscidi, who died of a massive skull fracture, was buried by Larry in the backyard of the family house in Vienna, the boys' father, Burton Viscidi, has said. The father also said that Larry discovered his brother dead in the family living room and was so shocked by the "horrible" sight that he buried Billy.
According to sources, Horan argued during the trial that in the course of a fight between the two brothers Larry grabbed a five-pound onyx elephant from a shelf and hit Billy on the head with it.
Horan has refused to confirm or deny this account of the trial. Yesterday, the prosecutor said the state law which restricts him from commenting on the case is an "invitation to irresponsibility" on the part of the juvenile justice system. He also said the secrecy the law requires creates public "disrespect for what goes on in juvenile court."
The prosecutor also said the "juvenile" charged in the death "would have been better off" with a public trial. But he refused to elaborate.