'Full justice' sought by youth's kin

May 20, 1994|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Family and friends of a Glen Burnie teen-ager slain Monday night say they will channel their grief into working to get guns off the street and pushing for the death penalty for the young man accused of killing him.

"I just want to see full justice done," said Melanie Thompson, mother of Arthur Raymond Childress IV, 19, yesterday.

Mark Anthony Wheelton, 17, of Lansdowne was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and a weapons violation in connection with a slaying that police say was over a young woman Mr. Childress had been dating.

Mr. Childress was shot in the head around 11:10 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Sunset Drive and Hammarlee Road, not too far from his girlfriend's house. She told police he had just dropped her off.

Mr. Wheelton was arrested the next morning and charged as an adult. He is being held without bail at the Anne Arundel County jail and faces a preliminary hearing June 17. His family could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"I, as Ray's mother, I feel I need to do something right now. I don't know what. But I know I will," Mrs. Thompson said yesterday.

She said she may become involved in the victim advocacy movement, in efforts to curb proliferation of handguns or in juvenile justice.

Yesterday evening, dozens of tearful youths and members of the community crowded Singleton's Funeral Home during visiting hours. The home could not fit all the flowers sent in memory of Mr. Childress into the room.

Visiting hours continue today. The funeral is to take place at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

"We as a family are going to stick together to see that this #F person will get all that the courts can give him," said Jim Bavis, Mr. Childress' grandfather.

"We are all ready to fight this. We want the maximum penalty for the animal who did this," said Tim Bavis, who gave his tuxedo for his deceased nephew's final outfit. "I was hoping he'd be married in it, not buried in it."

Mr. Childress will be buried 50 feet from an uncle who died nearly 17 years ago, killed when he was thrown from a motorcycle, Tim Bavis said. The memory of that accident haunts the family at this time of year.

Though his parents had been divorced about 16 years, Mr. Childress maintained a solid relationship with both.

"He was my best man at my last wedding," Ray Childress III said of his son, whom he called "Ray-Ray."

The young man, who was working toward a brown belt in karate, was employed as an electrician for an Annapolis company. He had planned to start training this fall to become a master electrician. He loved country music and played all types of sports, from lacrosse to basketball.

Lately, he'd started playing charity bingo, friends and relatives said.

Kelly Parks, 18, girlfriend of Mr. Childress, slumped in the arms of friends and her mother as she talked about Mr. Childress, whom she met three years on a Glen Burnie street.

"He's perfect, nothing wrong with him," she said, wiping her eyes. "He did anything for me."

District Court documents in Annapolis say Mr. Wheelton did not work, did not attend school and was treated for 22 days in January 1991 at Johns Hopkins Hospital for unspecified behavior problems.

Dominic Funk, a friend who attended the Center for Applied Technology-North with Mr. Childress, said his buddy didn't have a gun and didn't need one.

He said his pal brushed off Mr. Wheelton's threats, saying, " 'You can come to my house, we can settle this right in my front yard.' Ray figured one day it would be settled with this guy fighting, not BTC something like this."

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