A Glen Burnie teenager found playing a video game at home the day after killing his mother and leaving her body in her bedroom pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder.
William Joseph Skiratko, 18, stood motionless while relatives watched as he admitted to Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North that he fatally stabbed Elizabeth Anne Skiratko, 45.
Conditions of the plea include a recommendation that Skiratko be evaluated for treatment in the youthful offender program of Patuxent Institution. But there was no cap on the prison sentence - the maximum prison term for first-degree murder is a life sentence - and Assistant State's Attorney Frank Ragione said outside the courtroom that he has not decided what sentence to seek.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 16.
"She tried her best to be a mother, and he didn't like direction she was giving him. He just disagreed with a lot of things she was saying," Ragione said. Neighbors told reporters that Skiratko argued with his mother about going to school and that he had been staying out late.
Assistant Public Defender Denis O'Connell declined to comment.
Ragione said that on April 21, police were called to a home in Severn and received a note from a friend of William Skiratko's. In it, William Skiratko said he was going to kill his mother and himself. Police then went to the apartment Elizabeth Skiratko shared with her sons, where they found William Skiratko, then 17.
"He told the officers it was too late for his mother," Ragione said. They found her body with a note the youth had signed taped to her wrist saying, "I did kill Elizabeth Skiratko."
Ragione said he told detectives that he killed his mother in the hall, first hitting her as many as 10 times until she passed out. When choking did not seem to kill her, he got a knife and stabbed her several times, he told police. But he decided the knife was not long enough, so he returned to kitchen for a longer knife and stabbed her again.
A psychological evaluation said in October that Skiratko has problems but was fit to stand trial. Court records indicate that his parents accused each other of child abuse after their 1995 divorce, and for a time his father was barred from having contact with him and his younger brother. The father filed for a protective order against his ex-wife, alleging she had abused the elder son; a judge denied that request.