Friday, March 21, 2008

Teen accused of killing family to undergo psychiatric evaluation

Assessment to help determine if Browning will be tried as juvenile or adult

By Jennifer McMenamin Sun reporter

A Baltimore County judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation today for the Cockeysville teenager accused of killing his parents and younger brothers.

Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger said he will use the assessment "for the purpose of advising the court .. on the mental state of the defendant," which is one element he must consider in deciding whether 16-year-old Nicholas W. Browning should be tried in the juvenile system or remain in adult court.

This afternoon marked the first time that Browning has appeared in court since being charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four handgun offenses in the fatal shootings of his family on Feb. 2.

Dressed in a plaid shirt and dark blue pants with his formerly floppy blond hair trimmed short, Browning did not speak to the judge. He kept his eyes downcast and clasped his hands behind his back as the judge formally read each of the four murder charges filed against him.

Several family members seated behind him appeared to fight back tears as the names of the victims were read from the indictment: his parents, John W. Browning and Tamara Browning, and his younger brothers, 14-year-old Gregory and 11-year-old Benjamin.

All four were sleeping in their Cockeysville home when they were killed.

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