A 14-year-old boy who turned himself in to police late Friday has been charged as an adult in the fatal stabbing of a classmate at a West Baltimore middle school, an act that the suspect's attorney and law-enforcement sources say followed a long-running feud between the two teenagers.
Timothy Oxendine of the 2800 block of Elgin Ave. was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Markel Williams, 15, police said in charging documents. The victim was found behind William H. Lemmel Middle School with multiple stab wounds to his upper body early Friday afternoon.
Williams, of the 3200 block of Westmont Ave., was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital.
It was the first killing of a student on city school grounds during school hours in more than 20 years. City schools chief Andres Alonso and Mayor Sheila Dixon arrived at the school in the 2800 block of N. Dukeland St. soon after the stabbing to speak with teachers and students.
Oxendine's attorney, Patrick Todd Williams, and police sources who asked not to be identified because the investigation is continuing said that bullying might have been a factor.
"The initial info that I have is that this is about bullying, and that Timothy felt very threatened by the victim," the attorney said. "I don't have the exact extent of it yet, but it goes back for a while."
The suspect, who has no prior juvenile arrests or criminal record, was so fearful that he had stopped attending school, Patrick Williams said.
Markel Williams, meanwhile, was "known to police" in the Northwest District and had been placed on a list of the area's most-troubled juveniles, said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. Markel Williams had been arrested several times, but the details of those charges were not available because they were juvenile records.
Charging documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun yesterday said that the two students were involved in an "ongoing dispute" and that witnesses identified Oxendine as the assailant on Friday.
According to the charging documents, Oxendine began walking through the halls of the school shortly before 1 p.m. searching for Markel Williams with the intent to harm him. The documents say Oxendine told other students before the altercation, "I am going to booking!" - a reference to the city's Central Booking and Intake Center, where new arrestees are processed.
Reached by phone, Oxendine's aunt referred all questions to her nephew's attorney. No one answered the door at the victim's home early yesterday evening.
The victim was found near the entrance to a charter school, ConneXions Community Leadership Academy, that is housed in the middle school building near Mondawmin Mall.
There have been other violent incidents this year at Lemmel and ConneXions, an independently run, public charter school with an emphasis on the arts. A 14-year-old ConneXions student, Edward Smith, was fatally shot in Cherry Hill in January. Another 14-year-old boy was stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors during a fight at Lemmel in April.
Lemmel houses a third school, the Alternative Learning Center at Lemmel, which is geared toward students who have fallen behind or have behavioral problems.
Since taking over as schools chief last year, Alonso has given schools the ability to install metal detectors and opened more schools for kids with behavioral problems. After students were caught on camera attacking a Baltimore high school teacher, he also called on the community to do more and volunteer in the schools.
Given Oxendine's age and the severity of the charges, state law required police to charge him as an adult. However, because he is under age 16, his attorney can - and likely will - ask a judge to send the case to juvenile court, where the goal is rehabilitation rather than punishment.
A bail review hearing for Oxendine is scheduled for tomorrow, Patrick Williams said.
Sun reporter Sara Neufeld contributed to this article.