A 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally stabbing a classmate at their West Baltimore middle school last year.
Timothy Oxendine will be sentenced to at least 50 years in prison as part of his plea agreement, though all but 15 to 25 years will be suspended, said Baltimore Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard. Sentencing is set for Feb. 2.
A woman in the courtroom buried her head in her hands when she heard the guideline range, and Oxendine's father, sitting behind her, muttered angrily, later criticizing his son's attorney to no one in particular. He declined to comment further.
Oxendine, a tall, skinny boy who looks even younger than he is, showed no reaction. Sandwiched among three admitted drug dealers from separate cases, he stood at the defense table quietly mumbling answers to Heard's questions.
"What did you do?" she asked him.
"Stabbed Markel Williams," Oxendine said.
The murder on William H. Lemmel Middle School grounds shook city leaders, who flocked to the school and arranged community meetings with parents.
According to court documents, the teenagers were once friends, but their relationship had turned sour. They fought over a girl, the victim's family said. The defense, which claimed Williams, 15, threatened Oxendine's relatives, said Williams had been bullying Oxendine. He had even asked his mother if he could transfer to avoid Williams, they said.
But Oxendine was still on campus Nov. 21, despite being suspended for cutting classes. Witnesses told police that they saw him combing the halls for Williams.
"I am going to booking" - as in Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center - he announced to other students, charging documents say.
He spotted Williams coming out of a stairwell and stabbed him three times, Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Moran said. Williams was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Though Williams had been arrested before and was on a list of the area's most-troubled kids, Oxendine's criminal record was clean. But school records show the eighth-grader had been in trouble for assaulting other students.
Oxendine told Judge Heard he had been taking medication to "calm ... down" before he was arrested.