Supreme Court Hearing Appeal Over 89-Year Old Kidnapping - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Supreme Court Hearing Appeal Over 89-Year Old Kidnapping

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Rondaiges Harper Rondaiges Harper

DOVER, Del. - It was a brazen and highly-covered case. In March of 2013, five lives forever changed. There was of course the victim, Margaret Smith, then 89-years old, who was stuffed in the trunk of her own car for a grueling 48 hours, without food or drink.

Then there were the four teenagers that did the crime. Junia McDonald, 14 at the time and Jackelin Perez, 15 were the two that initially threw Smith into the trunk, and stole the car, according to court testimony. Multiple hours later two 17-year old boys - Phillip Brewer and Rondaiges Harper -- entered the car as well.

Now, more than two years later, the legal battles continue for Harper. Despite being convicted of carjacking and kidnapping in June of 2014, on Wednesday Harper's attorney John Brady brought an appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. According to Brady, the fact that his client was not at the scene of the initial carjacking, makes him less liable.

The debate is all over the legal definition of a carjacking. The question is over whether it's on-going, continuing until the victim is released or if it's something that only lasts until the car is stolen.

"Mr Harper nor for his part Mr Brewer," Brady said in front of the three-judge panel. "Did not have the specific intent to take  the car away from Ms. Smith in the manner that the girls did several hours earlier."

As for the Kidnapping charge, Brady said that this was contingent on a separate felony charge. In this case, the felony was the carjacking, and so he said disproving the carjacking would simultaneously call for a lesser charge than kidnapping as well. 

But State attorney John Williams said that the boys were not only aware of Smith, but also active participants in the crimes. In fact, court testimony from Phillip Brewer indicated that Smith was removed from the trunk two times when the boys were present, and then placed back into the trunk.

"Until the hostage is actually released," Williams said. "The carjacking offense hasn't ended. And I think that makes sense."

The panel will have 90 days or less to make a decision on the appeal. If you would like to see the entire oral arguments you can visit http://livestream.com/DelawareSupremeCourt/events/4060829

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