Prosecutor files charges against Damascus family for underage drinking party -- Gazette.Net


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The case against a Damascus family accused of assaulting police officers breaking up an underage-drinking party has moved from District Court to Circuit Court.

The Montgomery County state’s attorney’s office on May 19 charged parents George Magas, 55, and Cathy Magas, 46, and their sons Nicholas Magas, 21, and Eric Magas, 19, with furnishing alcohol to minors, obstruction and assaulting police.

George Magas also has been charged with trying to disarm a police officer, according to court records accessed online. That charge, a felony, is a common law offense. A sentence for such an offense is up to a judge’s discretion.

The Magases previously faced similar charges connected to a January drinking party and multiple fights at their home in Damascus.

Some of the original charges have been dropped.

In this case, the state’s attorney’s office filed formal charges against the family through what is called a “criminal information.” This way of filing charges is similar to an indictment, except there is no grand jury. A determination of probable cause is made during a preliminary hearing in District Court, a lower court.

The current charges against the Magas family stem from a chain of events that allegedly happened on Jan. 4. Montgomery County police said their officers and the sheriff’s department went that day to the Magas family residence in the 9400 block of Damascus Road.

Tipped off by a pizza delivery man, arriving officers described seeing underage young people drinking in the yard taking photos, according to court filings. Music could be heard coming from the basement.

Police alleged that Cathy Magas refused to let officers inside. The situation escalated when police officers moved a keg and began taking up cases of beer left outside.

Police said George Magas and Nicholas Magas fought with police. At some point during the scuffle, police alleged, George Magas grabbed the handle of a deputy’s gun and tried to take the weapon out of its holster.

Eric Magas jumped into the fight when an officer punched his father, police alleged in court filings.

Cathy Magas got involved when police deployed a Taser on Eric Magas. Police alleged that Cathy Magas removed the Taser plugs from her son and elbowed an officer in the face.

Meanwhile, George Magas was still fighting with other officers and was eventually subdued by a Taser, police said in court filings.

A call was put out for officers in trouble.

George and Eric Magas, who was shot with a Taser a second time prior to his arrest, were treated at Shady Grove Hospital.

According to court filings, police obtained a warrant that night after the family’s scuffle with police.

Rene Sandler, an attorney representing the family, said there was no probable cause to charge the family any criminal offense.

“Every member of the community has a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures,” Sandler said. “And every person has the right under the Fourth Amendment to require police to have a warrant before entering their home.”

After obtaining the warrant, officers forced open the door and found youths hiding, police said in court filings. Police said they also found a glass marijuana pipe.

More than 20 people were issued citations for underage drinking.

The state’s attorney’s office charged George Magas with attempting to disarm a police officer; obstruction; three counts of second-degree assault of a police officer; and 20 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.

Eric Magas was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer; possession of drug paraphernalia; six counts of obstruction; and 20 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.

Cathy Magas was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer; obstruction; and 20 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.

Nicholas Magas was charged with obstruction and 20 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.

A scheduling hearing was set for June.



tarnold@gazette.net