Six months after a 12-year-old girl's body was found strangled and burned in the basement of her West Baltimore home, the child's family is hoping her killer will get psychological help while serving a sentence of life in prison.
Jamal Amin Jackson, 18, pleaded guilty last week to first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the death of Natishia Moore. Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman sentenced Jackson to life in prison for the murder conviction, with a 30-year concurrent sentence for the rape.
The judge recommended that Jackson, of the 1200 block of Ashburton St., be placed in a special program for youthful offenders at Patuxent Institution in Jessup.
"I felt bad for him that he wasted his life like that, but I feel worse for his mother," Annette Watson, Natishia's mother, said. "All the way around it was just terrible."
Natishia, nicknamed "Tish," died the night of March 4 in the 2800 block of Rayner Ave., where she lived and nursed dreams of going to college. Neighbors and friends remembered her as an )) avid churchgoer who had earned a number of badges for her Girl Scout sash.
Several days before she died, the girl told a friend of her mother's, Barbara Keith, that she was having a problem with a boy. Ms. Keith, assuming Tish meant she was having a problem at school, said they would handle it the next Monday.
The last time family members saw Tish, she was talking on the telephone, saying the name "Tyrone."
According to court papers, four other children, including her brother and sister and a 7-year-old neighbor, were sleeping upstairs in the care of Ms. Watson's sister when Tish let Jackson in through a basement door. Once inside, he raped and strangled her, then set part of her body on fire.
Tish's 10-year-old brother, Christopher Davidson Jr., discovered the body the next morning.
Detectives found the name "Tyrone" in a notebook Tish kept, along with a phone number. By following up on the phone number, detectives determined that Tyrone was in fact Jackson. The young man, then 17, confessed about a week later and was charged as an adult with murder.
According to court records, Jackson had been criminally charged as a juvenile in an incident before the girl's killing and was wanted on a juvenile warrant at the time of his arrest. Details of the juvenile charges were not available because juvenile proceedings and records are kept secret under state law.
"He was just one who slipped through the system," Ms. Watson said. "They never paid him attention until he did something so vicious."
"Too many kids don't fear anything. They don't introduce their friends to their family," Ms. Keith said. "The lesson is, let your parents know who you call yourself 'seeing' or 'liking' or anything."