Two teenagers were charged yesterday in the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found by her mother in a bedroom at their family's home in Southwest Baltimore.
The victim, Christine Richardson, was discovered early Tuesday morning in her mother's bed with stab wounds to her chest and her throat slit , authorities said.
Police identified the suspects as Calvin Puryear, 19, of the 1900 block of Ramsay St., and Lloyd Chase, 17, of the 2100 block of McHenry St. Both suspects, who live in the same neighborhood as the victim, have been charged with first-degree murder and related charges, authorities said.
In a city struggling with a surging homicide rate this year, Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm yesterday called the case "another example of juvenile violence, another example of good police work and the community coming together and trying to make themselves more safe."
Richardson was the city's 165th homicide victim, and the 16th juvenile killed this year. Her slaying shook the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood where she grew up and where she had many friends. Recently, the girl had been alone at night because her 78-year-old father had been hospitalized and her 44-year-old mother, Ginger Brown, worked nights cleaning rooms at a motel in Halethorpe. Their house is in the 300 block of S. Fulton Ave.
Col. John M. Bevilacqua, chief of the criminal investigations division, said "a tremendous amount" of homicide detectives were brought to the scene of the killing to canvass the neighborhood, which led to leads and eventually the names of two suspects.
Charging documents indicate that police first began to focus on Puryear after friends of Richardson's family confronted him in the neighborhood and fought with him Tuesday. Homicide detectives took him to police headquarters and interviewed him. Police say the teenager admitted to his part in the killing.
Police charging documents allege that Puryear and Chase showed up at Richardson's house about 12:45 a.m. Tuesday and knocked on the front door. Richardson told them to come around the alley and through the back door. Once inside, all three went upstairs to a bedroom and had sex, according to charging documents.
Afterward, Chase and the girl got into an argument, and both men assaulted her. Puryear told detectives that he held the girl down on the bed while Chase stabbed her, according to the documents. The pair fled the house and made a bogus 911 call on a stolen cell phone to throw off police. Police did not disclose details about what was said on the call.
At 2:08 a.m., Richardson's mother returned home and found her daughter stabbed to death in the mother's bed, the documents state.
Puryear was charged early yesterday morning in Richardson's killing. Chase was arrested about 2 p.m. outside the murder victim's house, Bevilacqua said. Detectives were interviewing Chase late yesterday afternoon, he said.
Investigators had not found the murder weapon as of yesterday afternoon, police said. According to figures from the city state's attorney's office, city police have solved seven of the 16 juvenile murder cases this year.
Both suspects had at least one encounter each with law enforcement in the past. In May, court records show, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge gave Puryear probation for one year after he was found guilty of attempting to sell marijuana -- his first adult conviction. A state's attorney's spokeswoman said a prosecutor had pushed for a one-year jail term.
Chase had at least one contact with the city's juvenile justice system, but police declined to provide detailed information about his arrest history.
Richardson had had minor run-ins with the law this year and had been kicked out of school for being disruptive, relatives said. But she did not do drugs and was not involved with gangs, friends and relatives said.
In an interview yesterday afternoon, Brown said that Puryear was her daughter's former boyfriend, and Chase was a close family friend.
"I flipped out," Brown said, when homicide detectives told her about the suspects. She said her daughter dated Puryear for 2 1/2 years -- a period during which he was a frequent presence in her home. They spent time together "every Friday and Saturday, playing games, watching movies, TV. They never went upstairs."
The couple broke up this year, Brown said, which apparently upset Puryear.
"She told him, 'I don't want to see you no more,'" Brown said. "He told me, 'If I can't have her, I'm gonna hurt her.'"
But she said they had remained good friends, talking on the phone and hanging out occasionally. Brown said she spoke to her daughter three times on the night she was killed, the last time at about midnight, and during one of the conversations, Christine had told her that Puryear was visiting .
"I've known Lloyd for nine years," Brown said. "No way. I know for a fact, Lloyd wouldn't do none of this stuff."
Chase, who spoke to a Sun reporter outside Richardson's home Tuesday, spoke tearfully of Christine, calling himself her "brother" and calling Brown "mom." As Chase sat on the front steps, he called Richardson "quiet" and "nice."
Brown said that after she spoke to detectives, she summoned Chase to her home and told him that police had accused him in the killing.
"He flipped out," Brown said. "He said, 'No. No.'"
Brown said she believes him.
"He did not!" she shouted. "This boy would never do nothing to hurt anybody."
Sun reporters Liz F. Kay and Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.