Jacquez Brown
Jacquez Brown

A York City high-school dropout with a history of violence will be tried as an adult on murder charges.

Now 17, Jacquez Davon Brown was 15 years old when he allegedly shot and killed Anthony Sharkus Wasilewski outside the victim's home in the 300 block of East Princess Street on July 20, 2011.

"To modify a quote from the movie 'The Untouchables,' the defendant seems to have a history of bringing a gun to a fistfight," Common Pleas Judge Thomas H. Kelley VI said in an opinion issued Friday.

"It is important to note that ... after extricating himself from the victim's grasp, the defendant proceeded to fire a number of shots while the victim lay wounded on the ground," the judge wrote.

Wasilewski, 19, was shot at least four times trying to take back the cellphone Brown had robbed him of, according to court records.

Brown, of the 300 block of South Albemarle Street, was charged as an adult with first- and third-degree murder, but his defense attorney filed a juvenile decertification petition asking the case be handled in juvenile court.

History of violence: On Friday, Kelley denied the defense request and issued a 20-page opinion explaining his decision.

"The defendant has a history of aggressive behavior and assaults on other individuals during his young life," as early as age 8 or 9, Kelley wrote.

Brown was repeatedly suspended from school, starting in third grade, for fighting and once for carrying a pocketknife, according to the opinion, which states Brown dropped out of high school in 10th grade.

In 2009, Brown was charged as a juvenile for shooting someone in the face at close range with a BB gun and was placed on probation for a year, according to Kelley.

'Ups the ante': "It is clear to the court that the defendant has a long and storied history of assaultive behavior," Kelley wrote. "Indeed, it appears as if the defendant is ... arming himself in anticipation of conflict and almost seeking out conflict in order to employ whatever weapon he has seen fit to conceal on his person."

Brown blames others for starting problems, according to the judge, who wrote that even if that's true, Brown "ups the ante" by resorting to violence.

"Given the defendant's age and the ongoing and escalating level of violence ... (Brown) undoubtedly poses a threat to the safety of the public," Kelley wrote.

Self-defense? Brown maintains he fired in self-defense, but that claim is challenged by the fact that he continued to shoot Wasilewski after the victim was lying on the ground, and then fled the scene, the judge wrote.

Kelley based his decision, in part, on the testimony of Dr. Larry Rotenberg, a forensic psychiatrist who examined Brown on behalf of the prosecution.

Rotenberg testified in court March 12 to his findings, saying Brown has no mental-health or substance-abuse issues, but lacks empathy for others.

The doctor acknowledged Brown "expressed words of remorse" for the fatal shooting, but added, "I don't think it's fair to say he's remorseful."

The background: York City Police said Brown and a group of friends robbed Wasilewski of his cellphone earlier the day of the homicide. Later, about 2:30 p.m., Wasilewski spotted Brown and confronted him about the stolen phone, police said.

That confrontation turned physical, at which point Brown pulled a stolen 9mm handgun and shot Wasilewski repeatedly, police said.

Brown then took a hostage at gunpoint and forced him into a home in the 300 block of East Philadelphia Street, police said. The hostage escaped unhurt, after which patrol officers surrounded the house and arrested Brown on the roof, police said.

While searching the rooftop, officers found Wasilewski's stolen cellphone, and a resident of the home later found the 9mm gun used to kill Wasilewski, according to court records.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.