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Teen who allegedly shot fellow Magruder High School student to be tried as an adult, judge says

Steven Alston Jr., 17, is charged with attempted first-degree and attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of DeAndre Thomas.

DERWOOD, Md. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on Jan. 27, 2022. 

A teen charged with shooting a fellow student at Col. Zadok Magruder High School in January will be tried as an adult, according to a Maryland Circuit Court judge, 

Steven Alston Jr., 17, is charged with attempted first-degree and attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of DeAndre Thomas at the Derwood, Maryland school on Jan. 21. Thomas was shot in the abdomen by a suspect using a ghost gun, according to prosecutors. 

Judge David Boynton decided that the juvenile court system would not have a better outcome for society and decided to keep Alston in adult court. The judge said that the maximum juvenile system treatment of six to nine months was not enough. The judge added this was "very adult-like behavior."

Alston faces 15-25 years in prison if found guilty of the attempted murder charges.

"We are on the right road to the person who brought violence to this school," said Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy. "We are working every day with community partners from all levels of government and police departments to make sure that our schools are safe places."

Thomas' family and the prosecutor said the now-16-year-old was in a coma for three weeks, has undergone nine surgeries since the shooting and still has one more major procedure before he is well enough to be a witness at the trial.

"This is not a club I thought I’d be part of -- a parent who’s had a child fall victim to gun violence," Thomas' mother, Karen Thomas, said in a previous interview with WUSA9. "I have two other children who, of course, I want to be able to feel safe about them going to school."

Alston's defense plans to bring up alleged bullying by Thomas, who did testify remotely earlier this week according to prosecutors. In that testimony, Thomas admitted to previously assaulting Alston days before the shooting. 

"Steven is a young man who has never been in any trouble," defense attorney David Felsen said. "It was absolutely clear from the evidence presented that he was the victim of several assaults. Some people might call it bullying. The victim, in this case, admitted he had beaten my client several times."

Prosecutors do not believe this to be "a typical case of bullying" and say the jury will have to decide on that factor.

Alston's defense attorneys also plan to bring up his below-average IQ, which according to Boynton's reading of an exam report, is 79.

    

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