Girl, 14, charged with stabbing half-sister, 11, more than 30 times
BY JON SEIDEL AND RUTH FULLER Staff Reporters January 22, 2014 7:42AM
Updated: February 24, 2014 1:06PM
The flush-faced 14-year-old Mundelein girl sat with her palms flat on the table in the Lake County juvenile courtroom, listening carefully.
She heard a prosecutor lay out the horrific allegations, accusing her of fatally stabbing her 11-year-old half-sister more than 30 times Tuesday simply because the younger girl wasn’t thankful, hit her and made her mad.
Seated to the teenager’s left in the courtroom was the mother records show the girls shared. The woman appeared stunned, but finally broke down in tears, as she heard the account of her younger daughter’s final moments.
With every stab of a knife into the 11-year-old’s body, a prosecutor said, the 14-year-old complained the younger girl didn’t show enough gratitude for all she had done.
That she’d made the girl dinner six times.
That she’d done her chores.
That’s why, she allegedly told police, she got up at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, went downstairs to retrieve a knife and viciously slew her half-sister in the upstairs bedroom of their home in the northern suburb.
When Wednesday’s hearing ended, a Lake County judge ordered the 14-year-old held in secured detention while she faces charges as a juvenile of first-degree murder.
The teen was whisked away. Prosecutors said they’ll decide in the coming weeks whether to charge her as an adult. Her family, meanwhile, left the juvenile courthouse without commenting, escorted by security guards.
The discovery of the younger girl’s dead body led briefly to a lockdown Tuesday of nearby schools after the older girl allegedly told police a Hispanic male broke in, stabbed her half-sister and fled.
But she later confessed when confronted with hair strands found in her half-sister’s hands — which could be tested for DNA — and revealed an even more troubling narrative that has shaken her far north suburban home.
“Please pray for us,” Mayor Steve Lentz pleaded at a press conference earlier Wednesday. “This is quite a tragedy.”
Records show the girls’ mother married the younger sibling’s father in Las Vegas in 2002. She filed for divorce in 2008, records show, two months after accusing him in a petition for an order of protection of pushing her and putting her in a headlock. She also said she hit him back.
She said it all took place after he threatened to leave the state and take the girls with him, records show. The matter was dismissed three weeks later, according to records.
Illinois’ child welfare agency said it’s had no prior contact with the family, though. Last spring, the 14-year-old changed her Facebook cover photo to what appears to be a “selfie” taken with her younger sister.
The two siblings were alone in the house when officers arrived Tuesday morning, answering a 911 call from the 14-year-old claiming an intruder was stabbing her half-sister, police and prosecutors said.
It’s not clear why the girls were alone.
The prosecutors said the 14-year-old was crying when she let police in through an interior garage door to look for the intruder. That’s when the prosecutor said they discovered the 11-year-old’s body.
Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said the girl died from “multiple sharp force injuries” which were “consistent with a fillet knife.”
He said she suffered about 30 stab wounds to the neck, chest and arm. There were three slicing wounds across her face, and another five defense wounds to the palms of her hands, Rudd said.
She suffered additional bruises, puncture wounds and knife wounds that “nicked” the carotid and right internal jugular vessels, Rudd said. She was also stabbed twice in the left upper lung, he said.
Investigators interviewed the 14-year-old for hours at the Mundelein Police Department, a prosecutor said. She allegedly told police she heard her half-sister’s screams and saw the man straddling and stabbing her.
It wasn’t until she was confronted with the strands of hair, the prosecutor said, that she confessed.