Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amanda Raechel Maynard

Search warrants returned to the Wake County courthouse today outline how Garner police located a 19-year-old man several hours after the slaying of a 15-year-old girl and obtained a confession from the man.

Kenneth R. O'Neal Jr., 19, was arrested Saturday on charges of murder, forcible sexual offense and burglary related to the death of Amanda R. Maynard.

The Garner High School freshman, who was known to her friends as Raechel, was killed in the early morning hours of New Year's Day at her Garner home, investigators say.

A search warrant, returned Tuesday, outlined how O'Neal's mother called 911 and told emergency dispatchers that she had heard a woman scream from the area of 101 Madrid Court. When police entered the duplex, they found Maynard’s body. She had been stabbed.
Investigators learned that O'Neal had attended a party at another address on Madrid Court, according to the search warrant. Family members told detectives that O'Neal had come home shortly before 4:30 a.m. and was crying; he then called a friend to pick him up and went to Angier.

While detectives were interviewing O'Neal's family members, he called his Madrid Court home, according to the search warrant. An investigator answered the phone and asked if she could talk with O'Neal in person, he said yes and the investigator went to Angier to interview O'Neal.

O'Neal told detectives that he entered Maynard's home with a knife and walked up the stairs, according to the search warrant. He saw Maynard, but did not know her name; when she saw O'Neal, Maynard screamed, the search warrant states.

"He ran to her and started stabbing her," the search warrant states. O'Neal also admitted sexually assaulting Maynard after he stabbed her, the search warrant states.

After the stabbing, O'Neal returned to the party where he had been earlier that night and washed the blood off his hands in an upstairs bathroom, according to the search warrant.
When O'Neal returned home, he told his mother that he had heard a woman scream from across the street and asked his mother to call the police, according to the search warrant.

Published: Jan 4, 2005
Modified: Jan 4, 2005 12:10 PM
Probe continues into Garner teen's slaying

RALEIGH -- The investigation continued Monday into the homicide and sexual assault of a 15-year-old Garner girl as the man accused of killing her appeared in court in Raleigh.

Kenneth R. O'Neal Jr., 19, appeared in the courtroom at the Wake County Detention Center for his first appearance on charges of murder, forcible sexual offense and burglary related to the death of Amanda R. Maynard. The Garner High School freshman, who was known to her friends as Raechel, was killed in the early morning hours of New Year's Day at her Garner home, investigators say.

Garner police received a call from a neighbor about a disturbance shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday. They were eventually directed to 101 Madrid Court, where officers found Maynard's battered body. Maynard, who police think was home alone at the time, was struck more than once with a sharp instrument, police said. They later arrested O'Neal, who lives across the street.

Maynard's mother,Tammy Edrington, said police told her that O'Neal had confessed to her daughter's slaying.

"He has confessed," Edrington said Monday in a telephone interview.

Police also told her O'Neal said he listened to a "satanic" song that referred to sexual acts involving a knife, Edrington said.

Garner police would not comment on Edrington's statements but did say that O'Neal had been interviewed by investigators.

"He's been interviewed, and his interview will be part of the case," said Jon Blum, spokesman for the Garner Police Department.

Crime scene tape cordoned off part of O'Neal's house and a wooded area behind his home Monday. Investigators used what appeared to be metal detectors, rakes and garden tools while they combed the area for evidence. Across the street, crime scene tape circled Maynard's yard, and bouquets of flowers lay on the slain teen's front lawn.

On Monday, Wake District Court Judge Anne Salisbury recounted the charges against O'Neal and told him that he was being held without bail. Salisbury said she would appoint a lawyer to represent O'Neal, whose probable cause hearing will be Jan. 24.

Before a packed courtroom, O'Neal conferred briefly with Raleigh lawyer Rob Lane, whom his mother hired to represent him during Monday's hearing. His mother declined to talk to reporters afterward. A young couple who showed up to support O'Neal also declined to comment to reporters.

However, in e-mail and phone calls to The News & Observer, members of Wake County's Goth community defended O'Neal, who was described as a reserved, polite young man.
"He was quiet," said Skittels Beall-Lee. "I will say that I've never seen anything that would insinuate psychotic behavior. I've had him in my house; I've trusted him."

Beall-Lee, who is part the area's Goth community, said it was unfair to judge O'Neal because of his clothing and taste in music. Beall-Lee and several other friends said they would wait to see the evidence against O'Neal before drawing conclusions.

Neighbors in Garner described O'Neal as wearing all-black outfits and distinctive clothing with silver spikes. One resident said he often saw O'Neal standing alone in his driveway late at night. Friends said that O'Neal was part of a band, and that after losing his car he often waited in his driveway for rides to shows and rehearsals.

Gothic culture, or Goth, grew out of the punk movement in the late 1970s. Like the punk movement, it celebrates individuality and rejects the conformity of mainstream society. The movement focuses on the darker aspects of life, but proponents say it does not advocate violence.

Members of the movement favor black clothing and such things as fishnet stockings, leather, platform boots, spikes and overcoats.

"We're doing nothing wrong," Beall-Lee said. "It's just music; it's just clothing."

The recent attention to O'Neal and his personal life worried Goths such as Katie Burnette, who was concerned about a possible backlash.

"The whole community is being demonized," Burnette said.

Final hours puzzle victim's mother
Tammy Edrington says she doesn't know why Amanda Maynard, 15, decided to stay home

The mother of the 15-year-old killed early Saturday in Garner said her daughter was supposed to have been spending the night at a friend's house.

Tammy Edrington said she left the house at 8 or 8:30 p.m. Friday and expected her daughter, Amanda R. Maynard, to be picked up later by a friend. She said she did not know the friend's last name or address, nor why her daughter decided to stay home.

"She was supposed to go to a girlfriend's house and have a party," Edrington said. "I guess she changed her mind and didn't tell me."

A neighbor, Kenneth R. O'Neal Jr., 19, has been charged with sexually assaulting and murdering Maynard early Saturday at her home along the quiet cul-de-sac of Madrid Court.
Edrington said that she and her daughter had seen O'Neal on several occasions but that her daughter had always kept her distance.

"He looked spooky to us," she said. "She totally distanced herself from that type of person."
Police say Maynard and O'Neal knew each other casually. Michael Richardson, who lives in the bottom part of O'Neal's duplex, said he saw Maynard chatting with O'Neal a few times out in their yard.

Neighbors say they have long been wary of O'Neal, an imposing figure who dressed in black and stood alone in driveways.

Richardson said he shepherded his two small children inside whenever he noticed the young man lingering in the yard.

Down the street, Pam Torrence and her children just tried to not make eye contact with him.
"He was one strange fellow," Richardson said as he loaded his family in their minivan Sunday.

Still, neighbors said, wearing a black overcoat and boots with metal spikes is not a crime. Neither is standing guard at the edge of a driveway in the dark of night.

And nobody in these 10 homes or duplexes sounded alarms that O'Neal might be dangerous, said Officer John Blum, a spokesman for the Garner Police Department.
"If everyone saw this coming, why did no one alert us?" Blum wondered Sunday.

Police found Maynard's battered body shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday when a caller alerted police about a disturbance in the neighborhood.

Maynard, who police think was home alone at the time, was sexually assaulted, then struck multiple times with a sharp object, police said.

Maynard, a Garner High School freshman, moved to the neighborhood this fall with Edrington.

Garner police said it took them 12 hours to reach Edrington with news of her daughter's death.

The girl's father, Paul Maynard, is stationed in Germany with the military. He, along with his parents, traveled Sunday to Raleigh to help take care of Amanda's funeral arrangements.

When police searched O'Neal's room, they found photographs depicting violent images and music inciting violent acts, Blum said.

O'Neal is not in school and does not have a job, Blum said. He lived in the upstairs portion of the duplex at 102 Madrid Court with his mother, neighbors said.

Police arrested O'Neal in a neighboring county late Saturday morning after tracking him through evidence gathered when they arrived at Madrid Court.

Neighbors said they noticed O'Neal wander to a New Year's Eve party at 109 Madrid Court. Torrence, who lived next door to the party, said her neighbor's two college-age children were hosting the party in their mother's absence. She said she noticed that the party wound down about midnight.

"This is a real blow to the neighborhood," Richardson said.

So young to be a victim

No, no, no. Y'all have got it wrong. What the song said was, "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys."

Some mamas -- and daddies, too -- apparently thought it said, "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up. Period."

Or else "let 'em grow up too fast."

In the waning days of 2004, a 13-year-old girl (whom police have not identified) -- a baby, in many respects -- was shot in the back outside a nightclub in downtown Durham. At 1 in the morning.

Yes, 13 years old. Yes, 1 in the morning. That's way too fast.

Then, not even a full day into the new year, a 15-year-old girl was killed in Garner, in the presumed safety of her home. It took cops 12 hours to find Amanda Maynard's mama, with whom she lived. Tammy Edrington's son said Monday night that she didn't want to talk further with the media.

It's a fine line between blaming the victim -- or, in this case, the victims' mamas -- and expecting parents to parent. Alas, casting blame won't undo either tragedy, and Edrington's knowing precisely where her daughter was might not have been enough to save Amanda Maynard from a killer.

Does that mean parents should be absolved of responsibility in cases where they've clearly been derelict?

No. Slice it any way you want, but blame for a 13-year-old being shot in the street at 1 a.m. belongs as much to her alleged guardians as to the gunman who fired into a crowd outside MK's House of Jazz and R&B.

It is not blaming the victim to ask, "What was that baby doing at a party at 1 in the morning?"
No one is -- at least I'm not -- blaming Edrington for what happened to her daughter. The blame belongs solely to whoever killed and sexually assaulted her. Police have a suspect, a 19-year-old neighbor, in custody.

It is possible, even necessary, though, to ask why it took cops 12 hours to find her mother.
While you're at it, you can also ask how come she didn't know where her baby was, and with whom. All she knew, she told a reporter, was that she thought the girl was spending the night at a friend's house. But she didn't know the friend's last name. Or address.

Only someone who has never tried to raise a teenager or who gets their world view from watching "Leave It To Beaver" reruns thinks it is easy.

Do kids lie?

Does a bear do No. 2 in the woods?

The answer to both questions stinks. Thus, it is conceivable that the 13-year-old told her mother she was going to a sleepover where friends and she would play with Beanie Babies and eat Rice Krispie Treats until slumber overcame them.

Such a lie would be easy to uncover, since no 13-year-old can drive herself to a friend's house. What's worse is if the kid didn't lie, if she actually told her folks she was going to MK's House of Jazz and R&B.

Don't wait up. 'Bye.

We expect the prosecutors will drop the hammer on the gunman responsible for shooting the girl and the person who killed Amanda Maynard.

In one of those instances, he could lower the boom on the parents of the victim, too.

What would you charge them with?

How about "impersonating a parent -- poorly"?

Warrants say man confessed
GARNER -- Early Saturday morning, 19-year-old Kenneth R. O'Neal left a party at a neighbor's house and walked into his home, sobbing. He phoned a friend, waited for a ride and headed to Harnett County, his family told police over the weekend.

A few hours later, O'Neal called home, according to a search warrant made public Tuesday. When a Garner investigator answered the phone at his mother's house, O'Neal told the detective his name and agreed to speak with police.

O'Neal told officers how he entered 101 Madrid Court, across the street from his home. He walked up the stairs with a knife and spotted 15-year-old Amanda "Raechel" Maynard standing in a bedroom, according to search warrants.

"He saw Amanda but did not know her name," a search warrant states. "When she saw him, she screamed, and he ran to her and started stabbing her."

O'Neal then sexually assaulted Raechel, according to a search warrant.

He told police that he later returned to the party, tossed the knife sheath in a trash can and washed the blood off his hands, according to a search warrant. At the party, he told a few jokes, played the piano and returned to his home at 102 Madrid Court.

"When he got there, he told his mother that he had heard a woman scream from across the street," a search warrant states. "[He] asked her to call the police, which she did."

Officers arrived at Raechel's duplex and found the Garner High School freshman in a bedroom, according to search warrants. The girl's head was battered, and her body was partially clothed.

O'Neal was arrested Saturday on charges of murder, forcible sexual offense and burglary in connection with Raechel's death.

Building a timeline

As the homicide investigation continued, detectives searched for evidence while piecing together what occurred between the time of Raechel's slaying and the call to 911 at 3:13 a.m., according to search warrants.

O'Neal initially told investigators he had stabbed Raechel more than once and left the knife in Raechel's house near her body, according to a search warrant.

Agents with the City-County Bureau of Identification combed the crime scene Saturday but could not find the knife. The next day, a search warrant states, officers searched behind O'Neal's house and discovered a knife with the handle stuck in the ground.

Because of conflicting statements from O'Neal, investigators were uncertain whether the knife they found was used in the killing, according to search warrants.

Detectives were also not sure what O'Neal's mother and sister knew about the slaying, according to search warrants.

O'Neal called his friend for a ride at 3:05 a.m., according to search warrants; his mother called 911 eight minutes later and told dispatchers she had heard a woman scream.

"By the time she called police saying she heard a scream, the victim could have been dead as long as 30 minutes," search warrants state.

Investigators don't know whether O'Neal's mother lied about the time she heard the scream or whether she heard the scream at all, according to the search warrants.

An impression of a woman's shoe was left in the kitchen of Raechel's home, according to search warrants. "It is possible that [O'Neal's mother or sister] entered the victim's house to see what had happened and what Kenneth was crying so hard about," the warrants state.

When detectives searched O'Neal's home, they seized CDs, two composition books with writings, two tank tops and a wooden box, according to a search warrant. They obtained a DNA sample from O'Neal, along with one from his mother, Donna.

Girl's mother explains

Standing Tuesday afternoon outside First Presbyterian Church in Garner, Raechel's mother, Tammy Edrington, said she was disgusted when police relayed the contents of O'Neal's confession to her. She declined to comment specifically about the police investigation.

Edrington gave a brief news conference outside the church before visiting hours began for her daughter. Standing with her two sons, Travis and Eric Maddix, Edrington lashed out against comments in a column by Barry Saunders in Tuesday's News & Observer that questioned why it took police 12 hours to be able to reach her about her daughter's death.

"It's easy to blame the mom," Edrington said. "I didn't kill my daughter."

She added that she was at a New Year's Eve party in Wendell the night before her daughter was killed. She told a reporter Sunday that she thought Raechel was planning to spend New Year's Eve with a friend but that she didn't know the friend's last name or her address.

Police attempted to contact Edrington before 6 a.m. Saturday but did not reach her until that afternoon, Garner police spokesman Jon Blum said.

Edrington said a friend called her cell phone at 10 a.m. Saturday with news of her daughter's death. She said she was so distraught that she was unable to drive back to Garner. She said another friend drove her back but got lost along the way.

Holding on to a stuffed pig and a blanket belonging to Raechel, Edrington said her family is not doing well.

"I saw my daughter for the first time today," she said, referring to the girl's body. "That's not my daughter."

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