Boy charged in the death of his mother

McDonogh student, 16, is accused of murder

May 15, 2008|By Laura Barnhardt and Gina Davis | Laura Barnhardt and Gina Davis,Sun reporters

A 16-year-old McDonogh School student was charged with first-degree murder in the death yesterday of his mother in their Towson home, Baltimore County police said.

It is the second time in three months that a county teen has been accused of killing a parent.

Lewin Carlton Powell III was arrested and charged as an adult last night with killing Donna Rosemarie Campbell-Powell, 39, an employee of the county Office of Budget and Finance, according to Baltimore County court documents. Powell was also charged with the attempted murder of his father, who goes by the same name.

Police said Campbell-Powell apparently died of blunt force trauma after she was hit multiple times with a baseball bat. Bill Toohey, a police spokesman, said the boy and his mother argued over his performance in school shortly after he arrived home Tuesday afternoon.

The argument escalated to the point where police say the boy attacked his mother with the bat, striking her in the head and all over her body. Police said the boy then hid the body in the family's garage under a blanket. No one else was home at the time of the attack, Toohey said.

The boy's father arrived home at midnight but was unaware of the attack, police said. Toohey said the boy attacked the father with a bat the next morning, hitting him in the head, but the father was able to overpower his son.

Campbell-Powell's co-workers in the office of budget and finance went to her house to check on her after she failed to show up for work, police said. The door was locked, and the co-workers called police.

Police said the two males were outside behind the house when they arrived. Toohey said the father said to police, "Thank God you're here. My son killed my wife."

The father was taken to Sinai Hospital.

Officers found Campbell-Powell's body inside her brick-and-siding, split-level house in the 1600 block of Alston Road in the Riderwood neighborhood shortly after 10 a.m. yesterday.

Toohey could not say whether a weapon had been found.

Lynn Kozloski, a next-door neighbor, said the boy was attending McDonogh School on a scholarship and played on the baseball team.

He worked part-time at a nearby supermarket, she said. He is an only child.

She said that the Powell family is from Jamaica and that it is a Jamaican tradition to exchange presents with neighbors. She said she would ask the youth what present he wanted to receive from her family.

She said his mother sometimes called the boy "Junior."

Campbell-Powell had worked since June as a claims assistant for the county budget office's insurance division, county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said yesterday.

In February, Nicholas W. Browning, a 16-year-old Dulaney High School sophomore, was indicted on murder and handgun charges in the deaths of his parents, John W. Browning and Tamara Browning, and younger brothers 14-year-old Gregory and 11-year-old Benjamin. All four were shot as they slept in their Cockeysville home.

A hearing is scheduled next month to determine whether Browning, who remains in the county jail, will be tried in adult or juvenile court.

In the United States, family homicides are rare, and even more rare are cases of children killing their parents. Such cases account for less than 2 percent of all killings, according to experts.

When a child kills a parent, it most often involves a teenage son, and fathers outnumber mothers as victims of such crimes, FBI statistics indicate.

laura.barnhardt@baltsun.com

gina.davis@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Jennifer McMenamin and Brent Jones contributed to this article.

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