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Bail Denied For Baltimore High School Student Charged In Cafeteria Beating

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A Baltimore high student charged with attempted murder for beating his classmate is being held without bail on Friday.

WJZ's Derek Valcourt has more on what the suspect's attorney had to say after the court hearing today.

The parents of the 17-year-old attempted murder suspect refused to say anything leaving the courthouse where a judge denied bail for Frederick Douglass High School student Sean Johnson.

Cell phone video appears to show Johnson repeatedly punching and stomping on the head of fellow student and football teammate 16-year-old Darrien McDowell who had to be rushed to the hospital with severe injuries.

Though police reports indicate the Wednesday beating was over allegations of stolen football helmet visor, a defense attorney suggests Johnson was being bullied.

"We have to stop protecting the bully and that's what this case is pretty much all about," said Defense Attorney Landon White.

No one from the school system, from the principal all the way up to the superintendent of schools was willing to talk to WJZ about the incident or what's being done in its wake.

The victim's family hired attorneys with the law firm of A. Dwight Pettit, they call Frederick Douglass high a school with a history of violence.

"Our client did nothing to bring this on his self but that possibly there was notice to those persons in a position of power to do something about this before the attack occurred," said Latoya Francis-Williams, victim's attorney.

The disturbing violence in the video, which has gone viral, has outraged many parents at the school and throughout the city.

"It also sickened me that you saw so many students just sit around and watch and tape it," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Prosecutors said in court Johnson appears to have a history of anger problems.

Johnson's defense attorney says prosecutors overcharged the case and says the fight was at most second degree assault and not the attempted murder charges he's no facing.

His next court hearing is set for September 30th.

Officials say after-school activities at Douglass High School were canceled for today, including tonight's football game.


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