LANCASTER – A 14-year-old boy has been charged with special circumstance murder for the killing of an 86-year-old woman found dead at her Lancaster home last week, authorities said.
Tony Donnell Brown of Lancaster was charged Monday with one count of murder and two counts of first-degree burglary, person present, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The case includes a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during a first-degree burglary and a special allegation that Brown used a knife.
The 14-year-old made an initial court appearance Monday, but his arraignment was scheduled for July 23 at the Antelope Valley courthouse.
Brown is accused of breaking into Annie Margaret Bell‘s home on June 18 and stabbing her multiple times while she lay in bed, said Steven Frankland, Head Deputy of the Antelope Valley Branch.
The elderly woman was found dead with apparent stab wounds around 7:10 p.m. June 18 at her home in the 44600 block of Stillwater Drive, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Deputies from the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station responded to a call of an open window at the residence and found Bell “unresponsive and suffering from what appeared to be cut wounds about her upper torso,” according to the sheriff’s news release.
“During their investigation, detectives were told by witnesses in the neighborhood that a person matching the description of the suspect was possibly hiding in the bushes,” sheriff’s officials said in the news release.
Lancaster patrol deputies responded to the area and detained a juvenile who was hiding in the bushes, according to homicide detectives, and the juvenile was positively identified by the witnesses.
“Detectives conducted an interview of the juvenile. He was arrested for murder,” the sheriff’s news release states. A possible motive for the stabbing has not been released.
Bail for Brown has been set at $1 million. Prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty against Brown because of his age. He would face a potential 26-year-to-life prison term if convicted.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS FREE (8477).
UPDATED 7.23.15: Brown’s arraignment has been postponed to Sept. 18, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
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