Mother Was Tired of Son, Police Say

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Katrina Powe was fed up with her older son, an aggressive 12-year-old who was getting into fistfights and had started a neighborhood gang. Several times, she told her younger son, a 9-year-old, that she was going to send her older child away as she had done before, according to police.

There were also signs that Powe would physically abuse the 12-year-old but not the 9-year-old, according to two Prince George's County police sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation involves on ongoing investigation.

"She would pit one child against the other," one of the sources said. "She played favorites."

On Sunday morning, the 12-year-old stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother and brother in the family's Forestville apartment, police said. His rage was sparked by an argument with his mother after he and his brother were ejected from a friend's birthday party, the sources said.

Neighbors heard a commotion at 1:30 a.m. but did not call police because they were used to hearing disturbances at the Powe home, according to police and interviews with neighbors. The boys, who were kicked out of the party for different reasons, were known in the community to be troublemakers.

According to the sources, when Powe would hit her 12-year-old son, the younger son, Mystery Toma Hillian, 9, would taunt his brother and poke fun at him. There were times that Powe would send her older son to live with relatives, but she always kept her younger son with her in her home.

The bodies found in the living room of the second-story apartment building late Sunday morning were badly mutilated and showed signs of the attacker's rage, the sources said.

He used a butcher knife and a wooden handle, the sources said, correcting earlier reports that the boy had used a metal pole in the attack.

There was physical evidence that Powe and Mystery tried to fight off the attacker. The 12-year-old was described by police as a large child with a big frame, and his brother was slender. Their 31-year-old mother was about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed more than 180 pounds.

The 12-year-old was charged Monday as a juvenile with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths. He is not being identified by The Washington Post because he is a juvenile.

By Maryland law, a person younger than 14 cannot be charged as an adult with murder. At a hearing Monday, a juvenile judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the boy, who is being held at the Cheltenham Youth Facility. After the killings, the 12-year-old stayed at a friend's house for the night, the law enforcement sources said. Then he returned to the home where he had been ejected from the birthday party, which was near his apartment, and told a woman there that his mother and brother were dead.

The woman called police and met officers at the apartment, using the 12-year-old's key, sources said.

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