Fairfax County 17-Year-Old Arrested in Death of His 19-Year-Old Girlfriend

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alone downstairs in a Fairfax County bedroom, the teenage couple got into a nasty argument about their relationship. The boyfriend grabbed a large knife and stabbed his girlfriend once, killing her, police said yesterday.

When police arrived at the Herndon house Sunday afternoon, they discovered Siobhan L. Russell, 19, dead and her boyfriend, 17, waiting outside for officers. His father was in another part of the house when the homicide occurred.

The 17-year-old was charged as a juvenile with first-degree murder and appeared in juvenile court yesterday, where he sat solemnly and bowed his head of shaggy brown hair. The Washington Post generally does not publish names of juveniles charged with crimes.

The teenager's lawyer waived the "probable cause" part of the hearing, meaning the prosecutor did not reveal what police think happened. A judge set a May 28 hearing for the case.

Russell's family sat tearfully through the hearing.

As the suspect was led from the courtroom, his father yelled to him, "I love you, son. I'll be here for you. I love you, buddy."

The boyfriend's father was at the home, in the 12700 block of Magna Carta Road, when Russell was killed, police said. The father called 911 about 4:30 p.m. and said "his son . . . got into an augment with his girlfriend, lost his temper and killed 'Shev,' " according to an affidavit filed in Fairfax Circuit Court.

When the suspect was arrested, he said things "implicating his involvement in the murder," the affidavit said. He lived in the home with his grandparents, according to police.

Treighton Cheney, 18, a friend of Russell's, said he would often see bruises on her and would try to talk to her about getting away from her boyfriend, whom she had been dating off and on for about three years.

"She was the nicest, sweetest girl anyone could have ever met," Cheney said. "She was always doing her best to make everyone happy."

He said he thinks Russell, who worked as a waitress, was afraid of her boyfriend.

The boyfriend is being held at the county's juvenile detention center. He briefly attended Chantilly High School in 2007 but withdrew and had not reenrolled in Fairfax schools since, according to a schools spokeswoman.

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