Father denies bringing gun to Doherty; was there to confront boy who hit daughter on bus

·4 min read
Jerome Weekes, 41, of Canton in Central District Court on Monday.
Jerome Weekes, 41, of Canton in Central District Court on Monday.

WORCESTER — The father accused of entering a city high school with a concealed handgun was at the school to confront a male student who allegedly punched the man's 14-year-old daughter in the head on a school bus a week earlier.

Jerome Weekes, 41, of Canton, is charged with carrying a firearm without a license and carrying a dangerous weapon on school grounds. He denies he brought a gun to the school.

His lawyer, J. Kerner Thomas, discussed Weekes' actions of Dec. 15 during a dangerousness hearing Thursday in Central District Court. Weekes sought release on bail; prosecutors argued that he be held.

Judge Steven D. Power ruled that Weekes will remain in custody until at least a jury-waived trial on Jan. 18.

Weekes was arrested Dec. 17 and arraigned Monday.

More: After alleged gun incident at Doherty High, parents wonder if police are needed in schools

The charges stem from Weekes going to Doherty Memorial High School on Dec. 15 around the time of dismissal, which neither the defendant’s attorney or Assistant District Attorney Brian Pearly denied at Thursday's proceeding.

The sticking point in the case is whether Weekes was in possession of a handgun at the time he was on school grounds.

Thomas asked the judge to allow Weekes’ teenage daughter to testify that her father had no firearm when they went into the school together.

After Pearly objected, Weekes’ daughter was allowed to give her testimony to an independent attorney outside the courtroom — to spare the teenager the stress of testifying in court, the judge said.

The judge introduced the daughter's testimony, saying her father did not have a gun, into the record.

Schools are supposed to be safe places, Pearly said in his opening, arguing that Weekes not be released. The last thing you expect is someone’s father roaming around the school’s halls with a concealed handgun looking for a student who isn’t theirs, the prosecutor said.

Pearly said Weekes drove his BMW to the school, accompanied by his daughter after the end of school.

Another student approached the car and later told authorities he saw a black pistol on Weekes’ lap, which the defendant later placed between the driver's seat and center console, Pearly said.

Weekes and his daughter walked into Doherty, and Weekes began roaming the halls and peeking into classrooms, looking for the student who allegedly punched his daughter on a school bus, Pearly said. After a short period, the father and daughter exited the building without incident, he said.

Pearly told the judge that Weekes' daughter said her father came from the Boston area to speak to the boy about the “school bus incident” that happened earlier in the week.

Thomas, the defense lawyer, said Weekes explained he went to the school to talk to the boy who punched his daughter in the head and ask him why he hadn’t yet apologized.

Thomas said the boy in questioned had been disciplined by the school.

Due to the nature and circumstances of the charges, compounded with Weekes' substantial record of conviction, Pearly argued that it is clear that Weekes is potentially dangerous.

Thomas suggested cash bail for his client and several conditions on his release until trial, including staying out of Worcester.

Thomas also suggested bringing the matter to a federal judge to determine if Weekes should be detained and to have the matter resolved in federal court.

To make his case, Pearly highlighted some of Weekes’ criminal history, including firearms and drug charges.

Thomas argued that Weekes’ criminal history happened at least 17 year ago. However, Power pointed out to Thomas that his client is still on federal probation on a firearms charged going back to 2004.

Thomas countered that Weekes has been out of jail for three years and at no time has violated his probation.

Thomas said these allegations that Weekes entered Doherty High with a handgun have proved to be stressful for his family, adding that Weekes’ wife suffered a miscarriage on Tuesday, allegedly due to the stress of the charges.

Thomas insisted Weekes did not bring a gun to school, adding the charge is based on the opinion of one boy who said he thought he saw a gun.

The attorney for the defense urged Power to watch two segments of the school’s surveillance video before he ruled on dangerousness, while the assistant district attorney insisted that if Power watches any video evidence that he should watch all of it, which the judge did.

After a brief recess, Power said that despite not seeing any firearm in the video, the testimony of the independent witness compounded with the defendant’s criminal history has made him rule in favor of Weekes’ detainment while awaiting trial.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Testimony: Father denies bringing gun to Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting