Marion L. Rockwell, 44, of East Baltimore, recalled the moment this week that would forever change her life and that of her 14-year-old son, her youngest child.
Rockwell said she was in her upstairs bedroom watching television, a movie "or something or another," when her 14-year-old son joined her.
"He said he had to confess and wanted to go to church with me," Rockwell recalled painfully yesterday afternoon. "I said, 'For what?' He said he shot a lady and thinks she's dead. He said he didn't mean to.
"I was shocked . . . stunned. I started shaking inside," Rockwell said.
About 6:10 p.m. Wednesday, police came to her home in the 800 block of E. Chase St. and arrested Leonard Willie Rockwell Jr. About an hour later, he was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony in connection with the death of a 47-year-old woman.
Police said the victim, Mary Mazu Jackson, of the 1000 block of Wilmot Court, was walking alone in the 1000 block of Valley St. around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when she was accosted by three youths who pulled her into an alley with the intent of robbing her.
Jackson resisted and was shot twice in the back, police said. Her assailants fled and Jackson was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they recovered ammunition and a .32-caliber automatic handgun, believed used in the shooting, from the Rockwells' home.
Leonard Rockwell is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center, police said.
Two other teen-agers were arrested yesterday and were also charged in Jackson's death.
Homicide Detective Chris Beiling said Rickey Jerry Dunn, 15, a ninth-grade student at Patterson High School who also lives in the 800 block of E. Chase St., was arrested at home early yesterday evening and taken to police headquarters, where he was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony.
Kinte Marquis Johnson, 14, of the 800 block of McKim St., was arrested late last night and also charged with first-degree
murder and a handgun violation, Beiling said.
Dunn and Johnson were being held without bail at the Eastern District lockup pending a bail review hearing today in District Court, police said.
Beiling said a second .32-caliber handgun believed used in Jackson killing was seized by police yesterday from a female student at Southern High School. Police had gone to the school after receiving information that a student there had been given ,, the gun by a relative of one of the suspects and told to hide it.
Police said charges against the student were pending.
Police said they believe that robbery was the motive for the shooting of Jackson and that Leonard Rockwell fired the murder weapon.
Beiling said it appeared that Jackson, who received a disability check each month but was able to walk without aid, was not robbed.
"We think the three boys fled as soon as the woman was shot and didn't take the time to rob her," Beiling said.
In Marion Rockwell's living room, pictures of her four children fill the mantel over the fireplace. She said children these days don't think about what they're doing until it's too late. "They don't stop and think like we did when we were growing up," she said.
"He said he did it while playing," Marion Rockwell recalled her son telling her. "Him and his friend were playing cops and robbers. . . . He's sorry but it's too late."
Rockwell said her son often would go out with his friends at
night. "You know how children are, they don't keep still."
She said she has no idea where her son got the gun that police recovered from her house.
Rockwell, a devout churchgoer and a cordial woman who has pictures of Jesus Christ are hung throughout the Rockwells' three-story brick rowhouse, said, "My heart goes out to [Jackson's] family."
She again said her son "was sorry for what he did; he had tears in his eyes."
Her husband, a retired laundry worker who fixes bicycles as a sideline, has taken the news very hard. "He cries so hard like a baby," Rockwell said. "He didn't think the baby would do something like that."
Rockwell said she told her son: "You don't have to go to church to confess. You can get down on your knees and confess. God will forgive you no matter what you've done."
She said she and her husband raised their children -- 14, 15, 18 and 22 -- the best they knew how and she always asked them to go tochurch with her. "Like the preacher said, 'Don't wait till the hearse carries you to the church,' " she would tell them. However, she always found herself attending her church alone.
Marion Rockwell said she doesn't know how her son could possibly shoot someone. "You've got to be bold to do something like that," she said. Perhaps he got involved with the wrong crowd, she said.
"No, I can't fault myself for that," she said. "You can't watch your children 24 hours a day. I'm just sorry what he did. God knows I am from the bottom of my heart."
Leonard Rockwell never had trouble with the law, his mother said. He had gotten into fights at different schools and had been often expelled, she said. He was an A or B student whenever he applied himself at Lake Clifton, where he was a ninth-grader, she said. He talked of going into the military or attending college.
Leonard Rockwell received several trophies for playing basketball, his mother said. He enjoyed movies and cartoons. "He was a good boy."
Yesterday afternoon, looking at a picture of her smiling son when he was about nine, Rockwell said, "He's a pretty little boy. You wouldn't think he'd do something like that."