Man charged in killing of teen

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore police charged an 18-year-old man yesterday in Monday's fatal shooting of a 14-year-old girl inside an East Baltimore rowhouse, according to authorities.

Charles Jakes was charged with first-degree murder, assault and handgun violations in connection with the killing of Shawndreta Griffin inside a residence in the 1900 block of N. Patterson Park Ave., a police spokeswoman said.

Jakes, who lives in the house where the shooting occurred, was arrested by police at the scene shortly after the shooting, which occurred after 9 a.m.

A motive for the killing - the city's 10th juvenile slaying this year - had not emerged yesterday, police said. During the same period last year, nine juveniles were killed in Baltimore, city crime statistics show.

Shawndreta's mother, Joel Griffin, said her daughter sneaked out of the house Sunday night to be with Jakes and never came home. She said the girl had been forbidden to see him because the family suspected he was in a gang. The girl showed up for class early Monday at Booker T. Washington Middle School, where she was in the seventh grade, Griffin said.

But Shawndreta got a call on her cell phone and left school about an hour into the day, said Griffin, who said she spoke with a teacher familiar with the incident. The mother said her daughter befriended Jakes and started dating him about two weeks ago.

Griffin said she didn't know Jakes well and had only seen him a few times in the neighborhood. "I want to know why it happened," Griffin said about Monday. "I thought my daughter was in school."

Told that Jakes had been charged in the case, Griffin said, "He's been charged with first-degree murder? Good."

Jakes has a criminal record and is on supervised probation. He pleaded guilty April 2 to first-degree burglary and second-degree assault in Baltimore Circuit Court and was given two five-year suspended sentences, court records show. That day, prosecutors dropped charges that included possession of a knife on school property and second-degree assault. He was accused of having a weapon at Calverton Middle School, a spokesman for city prosecutors said.

Shawndreta was one of five siblings. She lived in the 1900 block of McCulloh St., about six blocks from the middle school. Tommy Dorsey, Joel Griffin's boyfriend, who referred to himself as Shawndreta's stepfather, said the girl was the youngest of the children - "my favorite," he said.

She liked to hang out near home and never wandered far, Dorsey said. "She was in the house," he said. "She wasn't into the crazy stuff. She wasn't like that."

The girl's death was noted yesterday at Booker T. Washington. An announcement was made to students about Shawndreta's death, and several girls left a big handmade card, made of poster board, for people to sign.

The card listed, among other things, Shawndreta's favorite song ("Dunn Dunn" by Shawty Lo), favorite color (yellow), favorite clothing store (Aeropostale), and hobbies (hanging out).

"We miss you," the card reads. "You are in Booker T. Washington's memories."

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