Woman, 18, pleads guilty in slaying of co-defendant's mother, boyfriend

July 09, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Sara Elizabeth Citroni, a Reisterstown runaway who met Cathryn Farrar's son shortly before Ms. Farrar and her boyfriend were stabbed to death in Westminster July 29, pleaded guilty yesterday to planning and carrying out the slayings.

Citroni, 18, in shackles, rocked back and forth at the defense table as Baltimore Assistant State's Attorney Ara Crowe described how she and Jason Aaron DeLong -- Ms. Farrar's son -- planned the killings. Citroni's father sat two rows back and winced during the presentation.

L The victims' families filled two rows behind the prosecutor.

As part of the agreement, Citroni pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, a count of first-degree murder in the commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. agreed to impose no more than two consecutive life terms when Citroni is sentenced Sept. 16. Prosecutors dropped their bid for sentences of life without parole.

"The tragedy of this case continues," said Brian Green, one of Citroni's public defenders. "I know that Judge Beck will consider all the evidence we will present showing that Sara Citroni is a very troubled young woman. Her activities have shocked all of us, and we grieve for the families that have lost loved ones."

Ms. Farrar, 39, and George William Wahl, 35, were killed in Ms. Farrar's apartment. Their bodies were found three days later.

Citroni and Mr. DeLong were arrested in South Florida several days after the killings, Westminster's first double homicide in seven years.

Mr. Crowe and Assistant State's Attorney Timothy J. Doory are prosecuting the case because Mr. Wahl was the brother-in-law of Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman.

In court, Mr. Crowe said Mr. DeLong -- who has admitted to the killings but claims he was insane at the time -- met Citroni about a week before the murders. According to the prosecutor, Citroni "wanted Jason to kill his mother." The pair stayed at a neighbor's house the night before the stabbings, he said.

Mr. Crowe said the neighbor's daughter would testify that Citroni called Jason "you chicken" many times that night, apparently to goad him into carrying out the killings.

When the two met at Cranberry Mall in Westminster, they were "a murder waiting to happen," said Luther C. West, Mr. DeLong's Baltimore defense attorney. She was a distraught runaway who was a model student until her mother's death two years earlier; Mr. DeLong was an abused, emotionally shattered boy who believed nobody loved him. They apparently hit it off instantly, he said.

On July 29, Mr. Crowe said, Mr. DeLong walked into Ms. Farrar's apartment and gave his mother a cup of coffee in the kitchen. As she took a sip, he plunged a hunting knife repeatedly into her back, neck and head. As he was stabbing his mother, Mr. Crowe said, Citroni was in the living room stabbing Mr. Wahl with a folding knife that, occasionally, closed and cut her fingers.

She was beginning to have trouble keeping Mr. Wahl subdued, so Mr. DeLong stopped stabbing his mother and helped Citroni. When Mr. Wahl lay dead, the pair went to the kitchen and stabbed Ms. Farrar repeatedly until long after she was dead, Mr. Crowe said.

They fled to Florida in Ms. Farrar's car and were arrested within days in Jupiter, where Mr. DeLong's father and stepmother live.

Mr. DeLong's jury trial is expected to begin Aug. 15 in Carroll Circuit Court and last about two weeks.

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