SALEM — A Salem Superior Court judge is mulling whether to release a 15-year-old girl charged with stabbing a Salem police officer in the eye with an eyeliner pencil last May.
The teenager, who was indicted by a grand jury last month as a youthful offender, is facing charges that include assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer following the May 8 incident outside the Salem Police Department.
The girl allegedly used the eyeliner pencil to stab veteran Salem police Detective Peter Baglioni underneath the eye, prosecutors allege. The pencil traveled into Baglioni’s eye, grazing a nerve. The officer has since recovered fully.
The girl and her attorney, Mona Ingram, appeared yesterday in Salem Superior Court to seek her release on bail while the case is pending.
The Salem News is not publishing her name because of her age, though court proceedings in the case have become public as a result of the indictment.
The indictment as a youthful offender exposes the girl to the potential of adult penalties if she is found guilty or delinquent in the case.
New details of the incident emerged during yesterday’s hearing before Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley. She is currently being held without bail after Juvenile Court Judge Amy Nechtem determined that the girl poses a danger if released.
The girl has been in custody since her arrest, at a Department of Youth Services facility.
Prosecutor Alex Grimes yesterday urged Feeley to maintain that status, pointing to the particularly violent assault on the officer, the girl’s long history of running away, and concerns for the girl’s own safety. Grimes said in court that the girl’s mental health issues have led her to engage in behavior that he characterized as “self-harming.”
Ingram, meanwhile, suggested that the girl could now be released safely to the custody of the Department of Children and Families, and offered to have her wear an ankle bracelet.
“A child should not be held in custody because the court feels she is a danger to herself,” Ingram argued, pointing to alternatives to the DYS detention facility, where the girl gets just a half-hour a day outdoors. Ingram also said the 100 days in custody has made the girl realize the consequences of her actions.
The girl has diabetes and has been diagnosed with learning disabilities, her lawyer said. She comes from an unstable family and her mother has been unable to care for her since suffering a stroke, said the lawyer.
Feeley, meanwhile, looked at the girl’s record and suggested that she has never demonstrated the ability to adhere to any court orders or other adult authority.
“If she, in an unprovoked manner, violently assaults a police officer taking her into custody, how can I have any assurances she won’t assault someone else ... in a position of lesser authority?” the judge asked.
Baglioni and a Juvenile Court probation officer, Jose Avila, had been conducting a so-called “night ride,” looking for youths who were wanted on either delinquency warrants or for other court proceedings.
The girl, who was wanted in connection with four juvenile cases, and her friend, who was also under court supervision, were being taken to the police station.
Under a recent change in guidelines on juveniles, the two girls were not handcuffed. During the ride to the station, the detective and the probation officer noticed that the girls were speaking in a low voice to each other and that the second girl had handed something to the defendant from a purse.
As the teens and the two men got out of the police car, the girls started moving toward the street, Grimes told the judge. Baglioni stepped over to prevent them from fleeing, as Avila took out a cellphone.
The two girls appeared to exchange something between them, and then the defendant began swinging at Baglioni’s chest. He deflected the blows, but then the girl swung at his eye.
The blow knocked him to the pavement and the girls ran down the street. The probation officer caught up with the defendant, while the other teenager was apprehended by another officer who was coming out of a gym down the street, Grimes said.
The other teen has also been charged in the case but was not indicted.
The judge took the matter under advisement and said he will rule after reviewing a recording of the Juvenile Court hearing and surveillance videos of the incident.
There is currently a pretrial hearing in the case scheduled in Lynn Juvenile Court on Sept. 6.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.