A juvenile court judge ruled Wednesday that a 16-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing the female principal of his Memphis private school and leaving her in a pool of blood in a classroom should be tried as an adult. Hit the jump to read the rest of the story.
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Eduardo Marmolejo should be transferred to adult court and held without bond, Special Judge Herbert Lane decided after a hearing in Memphis. A grand jury will determine whether to indict Marmolejo, who was described by one psychologist as having fantasies that he was a soldier or a ninja.
The teen was initially charged as a juvenile with first-degree murder in the Aug. 10 stabbing of Suzette York in a classroom at Memphis Junior Academy on the third day of classes. The 49-year-old principal was found by a teacher at the school, which has less than 100 students and is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
State prosecutor Reggie Henderson said Marmolejo stabbed York nine times in the throat and neck, adding the attacker sought to make the first cut to the victim’s windpipe in order to prevent her screams from being heard.
Defense attorneys didn’t argue whether or not Marmolejo committed the killing. Instead, they questioned homicide detectives about how they interrogated the teen, who had his mother present when he was interviewed by two officers the day of the stabbing.
Memphis police Sgt. Darren Goods said Marmolejo voluntarily waived his right to a lawyer and subsequently confessed. But defense attorney Whit Gurkin questioned whether the teen was coerced though psychological techniques often used by officers during interrogations.
“Under the circumstances, you can’t have a voluntary waiver of rights,” Gurkin said.
Police Sgt. Anthony Mullins testified that evidence showed that after the stabbing, Marmolejo changed clothes and tried to get rid of the knife he used in the killing by flushing it down the toilet.
In a an affidavit for a search warrant, Mullins wrote that Marmolejo told investigators that he had planned the killing since May by researching close-combat methods, and he had sharpened the knife the night before the stabbing.
Mullins also testified that Marmolejo seemed nervous and “inappropriately happy” when questioned hours after the stabbing.
“I told him he had nothing to be happy about,” Mullins said.
Earlier Wednesday, psychologists for both sides gave conflicting testimony about the teen’s competency.