A 15-year-old Alexandria youth accused of fatally shooting a woman customer at the Parkway Beauty Salon on March 17, pleaded guilty yesterday to first degree murder in Alexandria Circuit Court.
"My finger tightened up too much and the gun went off and she fell to the floor," Odell Watkins said in a statement, submitted as evidence, in which he described the murder of 38-year-old Muriel F. Hodan, a Fairfax County teacher who was having her hair shampooed. "I put the gun to my side and looked at her, and then I left."
Watkins, an eighth grader at Parker Gray School, and two 16-year-old students at George Washington High School, James A. Fields and Robert Redfear, all have pleaded guilty to murder, robbery and illegal use of a firearm in the case.
According to Watkins' statement, presented to Circuit Court Judge Franklin P. Backus, the three teenagers held up the shop because they wanted money to buy marijuana. After the shooting, the trio fled on their bicycles and divided the money, estimated at $50, according to testimony.
Commonwealth's Attorney William Cowhig agreed to drop four of the seven counts against each of the defendants in return for the guilty pleas. Fields and Redfear will be sentenced Aug. 15 and Watkins Sept. 12.
All three could receive a minimum of 26 years and a maximum of two life sentences in prison.
The charges dropped were counts of robbing Muriel Hodan, displaying a pistol in a threatening manner, breaking and entering the shop at 1110 S. Washington St. and holding the four occupants of the shop against their will.