A cold wind nipped the cheeks of hundreds of mourners who watched yesterday as Ingrid Hogan and Carol Brzeszkiewicz each gently placed a rose on the three small white caskets of their slain daughters.
Their husbands embraced them and pulled them back so their young sons and daughters could add roses of their own to the caskets of the three girls found stabbed to death Monday morning in Anne Arundel County.
"They were just babies. How could anyone do such a thing to them?" said 17-year-old Susan Drasher, a former babysitter for the Hogans, as she walked away from the graves.
Half an hour before the funeral services began, Stuart Kreiner, a 16-year-old neighbor of the girls, was led into District Court in Glen Burnie and formally charged with stabbing them to death last Sunday night.
At the request of Kreiner's own defense attorney, presiding Judge Robert S. Heise ordered the youth held without bond. "We are not requesting bond right now," defense counsel J. Edward Davis told the judge. ". . . We're in our own mind confident that the defendant is not competent to assist . . . in his own defense."
Davis then asked that Judge Heise order a psychiatric evaluation for Kreiner - a request that the judge said should be made in a written petition to the court.
The youth remained silent and withdrawn throughout the closed court session, according to Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Reina. "He's a shy individual, and studious, I understand," Reina said afterwards. "That's the way he appeared - shy, intelligent, and timid."
Neighbors and acquaintances of the youth, concurred with this description - adding, however, that Kreiner's timidity and his acceptance of his parents' rigid discipline had made him something of a laughing stock and an outcast among many of his poers.
That did not dull their astonishment that this slight, quiet, polite youth had been charged with committing such a brutal crime, a crime for which police say they still have determined no motive.
On Sunday night, 10-year-old Deborah Ann Hogan, her 8-year-old sister Terry, and their playmate Ann Brzeszkiewicz, 8, left the Brzeszkiewicz home to go play in the nearby woods.
On Monday morning, Anne Arundel County police found the bodies of the three lying face down in a stream in thos same woods, a few hundred yards from their homes on Cross Creek Drive and from the Kreiner home down the same street. Two of the girls had been stabbed 30 to 40 times: the third had been stabbed at least a dozen times.
By Monday night, Kreiner was among some 100 possible suspects whom the police were checking on. But before they could screen this group, police received a call from the Kreiner family, a call that apparently resulted in the youth's arrest Wednesday.
Yesterday, as the neighbors returned home from the funeral in twos and three, a few small groups gathered to talk about Stuart Kreiner, dredging up old memories in an effort to understand why he might have been involved in such a crime.
The sketchy picture these neighbors painted was one of a youth who acceded readily to the demands of his stern parents, always coming home when called, almost always obeying their requests. When he didn't, a schoolmate of Kreiner's said, he was punished by being confined to his bedroom.
His life among his peers in the neighborhood and at a nearby Catholic high school, Martin Spalding, was filed with petty torments, some schoolmates of Kreiner recalled. "The kids would call him 'Gay Stuey' sometimes," one acquaintance of Kreiner said."
The same schoolmate, who asked not to be identified, and some neighborhood children also remembered the time, a few years ago, when Stuart got into a fistfight with a neighbor.
In the midst of the fracas, his mother, Leona Kreiner, rushed up to the boys and urged her son on, telling him to stand up for himself.
This incident and a few others put the whole Kreiner family in the bad books of some neighborhood children, who took out their feelings by throwing bricks in the Kreiner's free-standing backyard pool, or throwing eggs at the house on Halloween. It was unclear, however, if many neighborhood adults shared this animosity.
No feelings of animosity were expressed yesterday, as most families in the neighborhood slipped in and out of the Hogan and Brzeszkiewicz houses, mourning at times, then telling a few jokes in an effort to forget.
In Holy Trinity Church - where more than 300 mourners sang songs and prayed for the spiritual salvation of the three young girls - the Rev. Joseph M. Connolly said: "While we are here to console the families of these little girls, we must also reach out to the family of the one who did this act."
Dressed in a white chasuble, Father Connolly told the congregation "those without faith" would call the murders "a waste." He said believers would say the act was "fruitful" because it brought relatives, friends and neighbors together in a time of crisis.
Both Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, the former archbishop of Baltimore, and a representative of the current archbishop listened to the ceremony that celebrated the resurrection of Christ as candles flickered above the 4-foot-long caskets.
After the service, Father Connolly led a procession out of the church to waiting limousines that carried the bodies of the girls to nearby Glen Haven Cemetery.
Both Ingrid Hogan and Carol Brzeszkiewicz sobbed as Father Connolly said his final words over the graves of the three girls and turned to the comfort of their husbands' shoulders.
Richard Hogan, who briefly spoke to a reporter yesterday at his home after the funeral, said the shock of the murders of his daughters had begun to wear off Wednesday and he began thinking about the horrors of the incident. "Without our friends to cheer us up, I don't know how we'd make it."
The courtroom arraignment of Stuart Kreiner took place in an atmosphere of intense confusion and some anger yesterday, as the doors to the courtroom were locked shortly before the arraignment was to begin.
About three dozen reporters, who had been directed to another courtroom, were unable to enter the courtroom during the proceeding, even though Judge Heise said later he gave no order that the arraignment be closed to the public.
The 16-year-old youth is being charged as an adult under Maryland law, and thus is not afforded the same privacy in court proceedings that a juvenile offender is enhtled to. All the officials involved in yesterday's arraigning - court bailiffs, county police assigned to protect Kreiner, and the attorneys in the case - denied locking the doors or ordering them locked.