Heard nothing, slain girl's mother says

January 20, 1995|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

Although her 7-year-old daughter was raped and murdered less than 10 feet from her West Baltimore bedroom, Peggy C. "Cookie" Allen says she slept soundly and never awoke to the child's desperate cries.

The next morning, "I found her face-down on the floor . . . I ran back and said, 'Something's wrong with Hope,' " Ms. Allen testified yesterday at the Baltimore Circuit Court trial of three men accused of killing her daughter, Tanisha Hope Allen.

Ms. Allen, 26, was the focus of heated questioning by a prosecutor and defense attorneys, all of whom seemed to suspect that the whole story wasn't being told. And at one point, the state's star witness said she saw Ms. Allen awake and fully aware of the Dec. 18, 1992, attack.

Prosecutor Ilene Nathan at one point asked Ms. Allen, "Didn't you hear anything at all? Anything at all in the entire evening?"

Ms. Allen replied, "No."

Two state medical examiners said in a report that the child "suffered a great amount of pain" and "had to attempt to scream" during her ordeal.

Investigators said yesterday that they have not closed the case file and may still bring additional charges after the trial is )R completed.

Hope was killed in the early morning after being attacked in her apartment on the 14th floor of the Lexington Terrace public housing high rise.

Ms. Allen has vehemently maintained that she had nothing to do with her daughter's death.

Charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape are Lamell Dixon, William Holland and Tremaine Lamont Murphy, all of whom lived in the high-rise at the time.

Raychella Smith, the star witness, said she had gone to the Allen apartment shortly after midnight to retrieve her Independence card that Ms. Allen had borrowed.

"She [Ms. Allen] cracked open the door just a little bit. She asked me what was wrong," Ms. Smith said.

Ms. Smith said she went inside the apartment while Ms. Allen went to fetch her card, and it was then that she saw Mr. Holland molesting the child, she said.

She also saw Mr. Dixon in the living room with his pants off, she said.

Ms. Smith did not come forward with an account to police for nearly seven months, a delay she attributed to fear of retribution against herself and her two children. At one point, she said, Mr. Murphy and another man broke into her apartment to intimidate her.

But she said the vision of the incident never left her and finally made her go to the police.

"I can't keep going on like this; it's eating me up inside," Ms. Smith said.

"I want my life back. I can't keep on running."

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