LANCASTER – A teenage boy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to fatally stabbing an 86-year-old Lancaster woman in her bed during a burglary last year.
Tony Donnell Brown of Lancaster, now 15, is being prosecuted as an adult in the death of Annie Margaret Bell, whose body was discovered June 18 at her home in the 44600 block of Stillwater Drive.
The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation that Bell was killed during the commission of a burglary, along with an allegation that the teen personally used a knife during the crime.
Prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty against Brown because of his age. He faces up to 26 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and two counts of first-degree burglary with a person present.
The then-14-year-old boy allegedly broke into the woman’s home and stabbed her multiple times while she was in her bed, according to Steven Frankland, head deputy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Antelope Valley branch.
Neighbors told detectives that a person matching the description of the suspect was possibly hiding in some bushes, leading to the teen’s arrest, sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Rouzan said last year.
Brown is due back in a Lancaster courtroom Jan. 27 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
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