Md. Boy, 12, Kills Man Attacking Mother

Cheryl Stamp talks about the traumatic ordeal in which her 12-year-old son was forced to kill a 64-year-old man that was attacking her. Video by Hamil Harris/The Washington Post
By Avis Thomas-Lester and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The 12-year-old boy had finished his homework and was playing a video game when he heard his mother cry out. Rushing to her aid, he found her on the kitchen floor, straddled by a fellow resident of their Prince George's County boarding house, the man's hands wrapped tightly around her neck, the boy said yesterday.

"I kept saying, 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' " the boy said, describing the events of Monday night. "But he just ignored me. He didn't stop. He just kept hurting her."

The boy said he grabbed a knife and swung, slashing 64-year-old Salomon Noubissie across the neck and opening an artery. Noubissie was fatally wounded.

The mother, Cheryl Stamp, said she did not immediately understand what had happened. "What did you do?" she said she asked her son.

"He didn't say anything," she said. "But I knew when I looked in his eyes. I said, 'Oh, Lord.' "

Law enforcement officials were reviewing evidence yesterday and had not decided whether to file charges. Their preliminary account of the incident broadly matches that of the boy and his mother.

The case presents exceedingly unusual circumstances: Rarely is a 12-year-old implicated in a homicide, and even less often does a child that age take a life to protect his mother.

"In Maryland, there can be a legitimate defense of third parties in the event of a violent attack," State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said. "That is a possibility in this case."

Yesterday, Stamp and her son were secluded in the boarding house on Roosevelt Avenue in the Landover area, curtains closed and doors locked against reporters and neighbors.

Like other neighbors, Turan Queen said she stood by the child. "His reaction was to help his mother," she said. "This was a 12-year-old defending his mother."

Stamp and her son agreed to be interviewed by Washington Post reporters, in part to explain the boy's actions. The Post is not naming the boy because he is a minor.

Efforts to contact Noubissie's family were unsuccessful.

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