Authorities investigate mother of juvenile who admitted role in girl's killing, lawyer says

The mother of a juvenile suspect who admitted this week to accidentally shooting 13-year-old Monae Turnage is being investigated in connection with circumstances surrounding the killing, the woman's attorney has confirmed.

The attorney, Isaac Klein, said a prosecutor told him his client's DNA was found on Monae's bra. Two of Monae's relatives gave a similar account, saying homicide detectives informed them that DNA from the mother of the 13-year-old suspect was found on the girl's body. Klein said he received the information from a city prosecutor.

"We had a discussion," Klein said of the prosecutor. "They called to share with me what they found, to ask if there was a logical explanation."

Klein declined to elaborate further. "I don't think it's appropriate to be discussing cases while they're under investigation," he said.

On Tuesday, the boy admitted committing involuntary manslaughter when he accidentally shot Monae with a rifle he retrieved from under a bed in his East Baltimore home, and a 12-year-old friend admitted helping dispose of her body. The youths were supposed to have been roller skating at the time.

Prosecutors said during a juvenile court hearing Tuesday that Monae was found partially clothed, and they cited the presence of the boys' DNA on her body as evidence that they moved her body from the rowhouse on Cliftview Avenue where she was accidentally shot.

Two of Monae's relatives, her mother, Edith Turnage, and her aunt, Patricia Marshall, told The Baltimore Sun at the conclusion of the juvenile court hearing about the information they received from homicide detectives regarding DNA from the suspect's parent being found on the girl's body, which was carried out of the home where she was accidentally shot and covered with garbage bags.

The mother's DNA could indicate she also was involved in disposing of the body, the relatives said detectives told them.

Asked about the potential for his client to be charged by prosecutors, Klein said: "They don't need much to charge anybody with anything these days. If in fact they found her DNA on the victim's bra, and they think that's enough to sustain a charge, let them charge away."

The mother of the 13-year-old is one of several adults who have been investigated in connection with circumstances surrounding the killing.

Police have charged one adult in connection with the case. Martinez Armstrong, a 21-year-old half brother of one of the suspects, was charged with reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm after police determined that the rifle belonged to him.

Also under investigation is a city police officer, John A. Ward, who was engaged to a half sister of one of the juvenile suspects. After the shooting, the rifle was found in his personal vehicle, and he was immediately suspended from the police force.

Authorities declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

The Baltimore Sun generally doesn't identify youths charged as juveniles and is not identifying the mother who is under investigation in order to maintain the juvenile's privacy.

Neither boy had previously been in trouble with the juvenile court system, officials said; the boy accused of pulling the trigger broke down crying as he was being advised of his rights.

Authorities say that the boys disposed of Monae's body while she was still breathing, then lied to investigators and said she had left the home on her own without saying where she was going. When they were brought to the homicide unit downtown for formal interviews, they gave full confessions, prosecutors said.