8th-grader charged in girl's killing

She was fatally stabbed Nov. 7 walking from light rail station

November 18, 2006|By Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey | Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey,SUN REPORTERS

An eighth-grade boy was in jail yesterday and other youths were being sought in the death of a teenage girl who was chased down and stabbed after getting off a light rail train in Baltimore.

The girl, Nicole "Nikki" Edmonds, 17, and her brother had been coming home from their job at a Wendy's in Anne Arundel County and were still wearing their uniforms when they were attacked shortly after midnight Nov. 7.

Four people - three males and a female - followed the siblings off the train and across the platform at the West North Avenue station, according to police charging documents. Two assailants threw Edmonds' brother to the ground and pulled his jacket over his head, while the other two chased the girl under a Jones Falls Expressway overpass, where police say she was caught and stabbed in the upper body. The brother was not injured.

Baltimore homicide detectives arrested the suspect Thursday night after working virtually nonstop since the killing of Edmonds, a promising young teen whose parents had pulled her out of a city high school because they thought it was too dangerous and were home-schooling her.

Charging documents filed in court identified the suspect as Kendrick Dana McCain, 15, who lives in the city's Winston-Govans neighborhood in North Baltimore and is a student at Winston Middle School.

The youth, who faces trial as an adult, was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and use of a deadly weapon. He was being held without bail yesterday and a court hearing is scheduled Monday.

Baltimore police, who were scouring the city for additional suspects, would not comment on the arrest yesterday. The charging documents contain few details and do not offer a motive.

Edmonds' killing stoked widespread concerns over safety on the light rail system and sadness over the seemingly senseless death of another city teenager.

Reached at home by telephone, the girl's father, Wayne Edmonds, said he was grateful for the outpouring of support that his family had received.

But Edmonds, who is the pastor at Tabernacle Church of Deliverance in East Baltimore, declined to comment until police arrested all the suspects.

"As of right now, I'm just waiting," he said.

The suspect's young cousin answered the door yesterday at his address on McCabe Avenue, east of York Road.

A teenage girl who identified herself as a cousin declined to comment. Reached by phone, the suspect's guardian and aunt, Debbie McCain, also declined to comment.

Young adults hanging out in the neighborhood yesterday afternoon said they had heard about the killing on the news. They described McCain as big and as someone who got into fights. Court records list him as 6 feet tall, weighing 159 lbs. The children in the neighborhood said he keeps his hair short and wears boots.

"He used to go to school," said Michael James, 20, who lives nearby. "He used to get beat up." James said McCain didn't hang out that much with the neighborhood boys. He had moved in with his aunt about three years ago, James said.

Marvin Johnson, 15, stood on his porch and reacted with surprise when he learned about the arrest of the adolescent he described as his "homeboy." "I can't believe Kendrick is going out like that!" he said. Johnson said he had seen McCain the day he was arrested.

Moesha Johnson, a girl who lives in the same neighborhood as McCain, said they were in the same class at Winston Middle School. "He don't look like the person who could do it," she said, surprised that her classmate had been arrested. She also said he rarely came to school.

The neighborhood - about 10 blocks from the upscale shops and restaurants at Belvedere Square - appears to be struggling. One resident, Jimmy Thomas, said: "It can be vicious at night." The people he grew up with have moved out, he said.

Some of the homes, like McCain's, are neatly kept. But others are vacant with gang graffiti scrawled on the boards covering windows and doors.

Miles away, in West Baltimore's Walbrook neighborhood, the victim's family continues to grieve.

Nikki Edmonds was raised in a religious family, whose lives revolve around the church where her father is a pastor. Her brother, Quentin Edmonds, 24, a minister in the same church, gave a stirring eulogy at his sister's funeral at another east-side church last Saturday.

More than 250 people - friends, neighbors, relatives - hailing from East and West Baltimore and beyond, came to pay their respects during a rousing, spiritual ceremony.

Edmonds enjoyed cooking, singing and dancing. She sang with a church choir and was involved in other youth activities at the church. She had four brothers and three sisters.

"Nikki was a comedian at heart," her funeral program reads. "She liked to crack jokes, make people laugh, and loved to fall out laughing at her own jokes."

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