In the state of Maryland, especially in Baltimore city, many teens just flat out don’t care about nothing. They have no goals. They have no dreams. They just don’t care about themselves, they don’t care about their future, they don’t care about their families (if they have one) and they certainly don’t care about you. It’s been said that the biggest threat to Maryland citizens is an out of control teen with a no care attitude and a weapon. Gone are the threats or fears of being incarcerated for crimes that they commit because the juvenile justice system is a joke and in 2011 Baltimore teens see prison life as a badge of honor or something to be proud of. A way to prove just how tough they can be. Sometimes they see life living as an inmate to be better than the life they had in the real world. Let’s take a look at the cases of teen murderers Otha Keyitta Samuel and Arteesha Holt.
OTHA KEYITTA SAMUEL
Ever since he was 12, 15 year old Otha Keyitta Samuel of the 600 block of N. Edgewood Street in west Baltimore was basically let loose with no parental supervision and allowed to just grow up on his own making him the perfect target for older drug dealers who often took him in. Using the boy to run their drugs for them, for Otha it wasn’t even about the drugs or the money. It was about acceptance. It was about survival. Perhaps he felt the need to be accepted and the need to prove himself on the night of February 14 1992. 16 year old Erik Patrick Chestnut was with a group of friends and had just left a McDonalds in the 1600 block of Belmont Avenue in Woodlawn when they walked to the payphone at the Exxon gas station right next to the McDonalds. Otha and his two adult companions were at the gas station and for some reason Otha felt threatened and provoked by the group of teens who were just walking to the pay phone to call their parents for rides home. Although there were no hostilities between them, Otha got a gun from one of the guys he was with and when the teens saw it, they took off running. Erik was hit in the back. Not realizing he had been shot and thinking he was having an asthma attack, the talented baseball player at Woodlawn High School died an hour later at Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center.
“I’ve got bad nerves. I thought I saw a gun.” Otha later told a judge explaining his actions.
Erik was just getting his strength back after getting shot in the neck by another student just four months earlier after winning a school fight. Erik almost died in that shooting so his murder devastated his parents. His case went nowhere until three months after his killing, the guy who gave Otha the gun got arrested on an unrelated charge and to bargain with prosecutors he decided to give investigators information about an unsolved murder. He snitched, Otha was arrested and charged as an adult with second degree murder. He pleaded guilty to killing the teen and got a 45 year prison sentence.
To date, 14 year old Arteesha Holt is the youngest female to be charged as an adult with murder in the state of Maryland. On August 13 2010 43 year old Jose Gonzales Coreas and his friend were sitting on their front steps at 147 N. Linwood Avenue in Patterson Park when Arteesha approached the men armed with a .32 caliber revolver and announced a robbery. When one of the men laughed at her because she was so young, she proved she was no joke when she shot them both. Jose was hit in the forehead and his friend was grazed in the head with a flying bullet. After she shot the two men she took off running and went to her older brother who helped her get rid of the gun. Jose’s friend flagged down a police officer and they found him lying on the steps. He was rushed to John Hopkins Hospital where he died one week later. Arteesha was ultimately arrested and charged as an adult with first degree murder. Her mom told reporters that she tried repeatedly to get help for Arteesha who was described as having an explosive temper but juvenile services told her that her daughter would have to commit crimes first or she would have to terminate her parental rights before they got involved. She said her daughter suffered from documented mental problems and was known to have violent outbursts that she couldn’t understand or control. She often ran away form home when she got frustrated or angry and drifted between friends and relatives. Admitting she couldn’t control her anger, Arteesha pleaded guilty to second degree murder and faces up to 50 years when she is sentenced next month.