A friend describes O'Donald Johnson, a 15-year-old East Baltimore youth charged in the slaying of a Crofton man, as a sensitive boy who "never forgot God."
But the friend's mother characterizes Johnson as violent and moody.
City police have charged Johnson and Antonio Maurice Little, 16, of the 1600 block of Rickenbacker Road in Essex, with first-degree murder in the slaying Friday of David Gordon during a holdup near Gordon's office at Calvert and 24th streets.
Johnson and Little also face handgun and armed robbery charges, police said. Both were being held without bail at the Central District lockup pending a bail review hearing today, police said.
Pepita Blount, 36, of the 1700 block of Federal St., a friend who let Johnson sleep on her couch for the past month, said he confided in her, talking with her about his childhood.
"It wasn't pleasant at all," said Blount, without being specific. "He had a lot of problems and he would cry to me about what happened to him. I told him not to cry, to try to forget about it."
She said she befriended Johnson eight months ago when he lived nearby.
Blount described him as a sensitive youth who came from a broken home and sometimes became depressed because of his "real rough childhood." She said she is an alcoholic and Johnson persuaded her not to drink anymore.
"He listened to me and he tried to help me. I never had any friends that could help me like that," said Blount. "As far as I could see, he never did nothing to harm no one."
She said Johnson wanted to become an artist. He liked to write and draw, although his creations reflected a lost and often lonely youth, she said.
"He drew pictures of sad clowns. Everything that came out in his drawings was real sensitive," Blount said. "When he wrote about things, he wrote about crimes and all the bad things people do to each other. He wrote about how God was coming to put an end to the crime. It was a letter to himself. He always put God in his letters. He never forgot God."
But her mother, Icilda Blount, said Johnson was moody.
"He was violent," said Icilda Blount. "I am bitter about this. I feel bitter."
Icilda Blount said Johnson and her son got into an argument that erupted into a fistfight recently, an incident that showed Johnson's violent nature, she said.
Icilda Blount said Johnson found a handgun last week in an alley near the block where she and her daughter live and where Johnson told police that he lived.
The mother said she told Johnson he would have to leave if he had a gun and Johnson took the gun out of the house.
The day of the Gordon murder, Icilda Blount said, Johnson left her house in the early evening after doing his laundry.
Gordon, 25, was killed about 5:50 p.m. near the offices of Whitman, Requardt and Associates, where he worked as a structural engineer.
As he got into his car, two men approached him and demanded money, police said. Police said Gordon begged for his life after handing over his wallet that contained $60 in cash and credit cards, but he was ordered to lie down in a snow bank and was fatally shot.
Gordon worked at the engineering firm in Charles Village for 2 1/2 years and was described by co-worker C. Richard Lortz as "very gentle."
Johnson and Little were arrested hours after Gordon's killing. A victim of an attempted robbery in the 2300 block of N. Charles St. described two assailants to police. The teen-agers were arrested based on the descriptions. Police recovered a .22-caliber handgun.
News of Johnson's arrest shocked Pepita Blount and her mother.
"I can't believe that he did that," Pepita Blount said. "He never used drugs and he did not drink . . . he never hurt no one. I hurt for him. This boy is young. He hadn't started to live his life yet. He didn't know what's out there."
Icilda Blount wept when she thought about Gordon's widow and the couple's two daughters, one an infant.
"I'm so sorry for the man who died," she said. "If I knew where the funeral would be, I would go and cry with his people. I'd throw myself on his coffin. I hurt for this man like he was my own son. The man is gone. It's wrong."