Nigel Antonio Carter, a Baltimore teen-ager accused of killin an Owings Mills Mall employee during a robbery Sept. 25, said yesterday that he made up a confession after homicide detectives told him his mother would lose her house because of him.
"That's when I cried," Mr. Carter, 17, said yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, during a hearing on whether his confession can be used as evidence at his murder trial. The trial is scheduled to begin today.
"I cried because I thought my mother would lose her house," Mr. Carter said. "That's what made me feel remorse."
Judge Christian M. Kahl ended yesterday's hearing without deciding whether police acted properly in getting Mr. Carter to confess. The judge also did not rule on defense arguments that the teen-ager was illegally arrested and that his mother's house was improperly searched. Judge Kahl will decide those issues before the trial begins.
Yesterday, the defense tried to show that police forced Mr. Carter to confess and that the young man, who was interviewed for more than three hours the day of his arrest, made up a story to satisfy the homicide detectives.
In the confession, he described the brown gloves and purple pants Christina Marie Brown wore when she was killed. Yesterday, he said he got that information from news reports.
Mr. Carter was arrested Oct. 7 near his mother's home in the 2300 block of N. Rosedale St. He is charged with killing Miss Brown, 28, as she walked along a secluded path connecting Owings Mills Mall's parking lots with the nearby Metro station. Miss Brown, who worked for a cleaning company on contract to Saks Fifth Avenue, was shot once in the head. Her purse, containing about $120, was stolen.
Police were led to Mr. Carter by an anonymous caller, who turned out to be the teen-ager's cousin. The cousin told police that Mr. Carter gave his sister Miss Brown's bus pass. When first questioned, he denied being involved. However, Detectives Phil Marll and James Tinchner told him they didn't believe him.
"When he answered questions like what his name and birth date were, he would look us right in the eye," said Detective Marll. Whenever police asked about the murder, Mr. Carter "would look away, look up at the ceiling, everywhere but at us," he said.
Mr. Carter admitted taking the MTA bus pass from Miss Brown's purse but said he found the purse near the Metro tracks close to his mother's home. He said he flushed the pass down the toilet when he saw news reports of the murder.
Yesterday, Detective Marll admitted that he and Detective Tinchner lied when they told Mr. Carter they lifted his fingerprints from Miss Brown's corpse. Detective Marll said the teen-ager started crying shortly after they described having the fingerprints.
"He said, 'It never would have happened if they didn't kick him out of school,' " the detective said.
Mr. Carter also said the shooting was an "accident."
"He said she grabbed his hand and wouldn't let go," Detective Marll testified.
Also yesterday, a police officer testified that when Mr. Carter was arrested, his mother said: "Nigel, don't tell them anything." Hours later, outside the court commissioner's office, the officer said Mr. Carter's mother asked: "Nigel, did you tell them anything?"
"Yeah, I told them," Mr. Carter reportedly replied. "Because they already knew."