Recordings: Accused Perry Hall Shooter Says He Intended More Victims, Was Not Bullied
A court hearing on Thursday included video and audio of 15-year-old Robert Gladden.
UPDATE (Feb. 8, 12:30 p.m.)—Adult charges will stand against the student accused of opening fire inside Perry Hall High School on the first day of school, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert Cahill, Jr. announced Friday morning.
Find more details in the article: Accused Perry Hall Student Shooter To Be Charged As Adult - http://patch.com/A-1Lkj
Find a detailed account of the beginning of the juvenile waiver hearing for the accused Perry Hall High School student shooter here.
The twice-postponed juvenile waiver hearing for 15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. continued into Thursday, as the prosecutor and defense attorney sparred over whether he should continue to be tried as an adult in the shooting inside Perry Hall High School's cafeteria on the first day of school.
By the end of the proceedings, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert Cahill, Jr. announced that the hearing would resume on Feb. 8, further drawing out any conclusions on Gladden's charges.
Gladden was initially charged as an adult with nine counts of first-degree attempted murder, among other charges, in the Aug. 27 incident that left special needs student Daniel Borowy seriously injured. If charged instead as a juvenile, Gladden could face significantly less jail time, a full release by age 21 and protection from media access to his criminal trial.
While the Wednesday portion of the hearing focused on Gladden's troubled formative years and psychiatric evaluations, Thursday's proceedings included portions of video recordings of Gladden immediately after the shooting, and audio recordings of Gladden's phone calls from the Baltimore County Detention Center in recent months.
The recordings, as presented by Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney John Cox, focused on Gladden saying that he intended more shooting victims, that he was not a victim of bullying, felt little remorse for the shooting, and preferred being imprisoned with adults instead of children or teenagers.
Lutherville defense attorney George Psoras frequently interrupted the recordings with strenuous objections—most of them overruled. Family members of Gladden were also visibly agitated and emotional as the recordings were played.
Psoras argued that Gladden felt intimidated, was not mentally fit, and should not be held accountable for his statements in the recordings. He also argued that Cox's selections of recordings showed calculated "vignettes," rather than accurate depictions.
Gladden Claims He Intended More Victims, Was Not Bullied
Eric Dunton, a detective for Baltimore County police's violent crimes unit, testified about the accuracy of video and audio recordings of Gladden since the shooting.
Cox, the prosecutor, showed video of Dunton interviewing Gladden just hours after his arrest.
"About four months ago, I was thinking about committing suicide ... but I really wanted to get the point across, so I thought I might as well kill some other kids and then off myself," Gladden told Dunton in the video on the afternoon of Aug. 27, the day the shooting took place.
"I figured if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it a lot," Gladden said. "I had 21 bullets ... 20 bullets and the last one was for me."
"I drank a little bit of vodka, but not too much ... I came out of the bathroom ... into the cafeteria ... I pulled [the gun] out from under my shirt, then pulled the trigger. Then a teacher came and pushed me up against the vending machine," Gladden said in the video. "I pulled it again just to see if they would let go."
"What if the teacher hadn't run over?" Dunton asked.
Gladden answered, "I would have reloaded." He then described in detail how to reload the double-barrel shotgun that he had brought into school.
Dunton asked if Gladden knew how many people were killed in the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Gladden accurately answered 15, including the student shooters, but said the shooters were motivated because they had been bullied.
"I wasn't bullied," Gladden said.
"So you didn't have an agenda or a hit list ... so you just wanted to make a point on the first day of school?" Dunton asked.
Gladden replied "yes."
In the video, Dunton asked why Gladden chose the cafeteria, to which Gladden replied, "There are a lot of people there."
Gladden also said he thought about killing a teacher he especially disliked from ninth grade, but thought the execution would have been "too hard."
When Dunton asked Gladden if he felt any remorse, he replied, "not really."
When asked in the video if he could have done anything differently, Gladden said he would have taken one shot and then immediately used the second shot to kill himself.
"I wanted to show that the world is a [expletive] up place," Gladden said.
Cox also played multiple phone conversations from the detention center, between Gladden and others. In them, Gladden comments on news coverage of the Perry Hall shooting, whether he was bullied and the December shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
"People say I was bullied, that I have dyslexia. Kids don't even get picked on for having dyslexia ... I don't have dyslexia," Gladden said in a phone converation. "I picked on more kids than picked on me."
"In middle school, I had the entire school afraid of me ... at 4-foot-9 and I had the entire school afraid of me. I ruled that school. No one messed with me," he said.
"That [expletive] me off, they keep saying I was bullied, and I wasn't bullied at all. They probably just made that [expletive] up ... I liked being an outcast. I was the one who made myself different," he said.
A portion of a recorded call on Dec. 16, first played during the Wednesday portion of the hearing, included Gladden making reference to the Dec. 14 shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, that killed 20 children and six staff members.
Gladden seemed to make a joke about how he wished he had gone to the school along with the shooter. "I wish I went too," he said in the phone call. Immediately afterward, Gladden's cousin reprimanded him for saying that in a recorded phone call.
Gladden Claims He Prefers Prison With Adults, Not 'Little Kids'
In other telephone conversations, Gladden went into detail about life at the detention center, and how he preferred being imprisoned with adults, rather than children or teenagers.
"I'm going to tell them, I don't like being in the juvenile detention center ... if I go where all the little kids are, they're going to be immature and annoying," he said.
"Here, one guy is 28, they're over 30 ... all really cool ... if I go to the juvenile, like they're all little kids," he said.
"Honestly, I kind of like my cell buddy. He's really cool," he said. "We watch football when it's on, we read a lot."
"I've got protection in here because I'm so young ... like no one messes with me," he said.
During another conversation, Gladden talks about how his attorney told him to act like a "really whiny kid" so the case workers would think he was better suited to being tried as a juvenile.
Psoras objected when this portion was played, saying that it violated lawyer-client privilege. The judge sustained that objection and Cox stopped playing that particular conversation.
Hearing To Continue Feb. 8, Trial's Beginning Uncertain
Gladden, wearing the same long hair that appears in his original booking photo—although no longer dyed black—made little movement during the Thursday portion of the hearing.
A statement read at the beginning of Thursday's proceedings showed that he smuggled a paper clip out of the court room on Wednesday, which was taken from him when he returned to the detention center that evening.
The judge announced that the hearing would continue on Feb. 8, so Psoras would have enough time to compile video or audio recordings supporting Gladden's defense.
His criminal trial remains scheduled for Feb. 19, but will likely be delayed because of the extended hearing. If his charges are changed to juvenile, significant changes will also be made to his impending trial.