CINCINNATI—A 14-year-old Ohio girl charged with killing her father told a judge Friday she understood the allegation against her, while authorities tried to learn what led up to the fatal shooting and her sobbing call to 911.
Butler County Juvenile Judge Kathleen Romans ordered the girl, who had replied simply “yes” when asked if she understood, to remain held in juvenile detention on an aggravated murder charge. The judge scheduled a pretrial hearing March 3.
Defence attorney Matt Fritsch told reporters it was early in the case and he was still gathering information.
Police released a 911 tape of a call made shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday. The caller urged the dispatcher to have “somebody come and put me in handcuffs.” When the dispatcher asked why, the caller replied: “I just shot my Dad.” The dispatcher asked: “You just did what to your dad?” She answered: “I just shot him.”
Police said they found James Allen Ponder, 71, shot in the face in a bedroom in the family’s Hamilton home, about 25 miles north of Cincinnati; he died at a hospital after being flown there by helicopter. Hamilton Police Sgt. Brian Robinson said he was shot with a handgun. Robinson said the girl’s mother and siblings apparently weren’t home at the time.
Authorities allege she loaded the gun with the intent to kill.
A motive and other details remain under investigation, Robinson said Friday.
The dispatcher asked the sobbing girl what happened and whether she “just shot him,” and she repeatedly said: “I don’t know …. I don’t know.” She also said repeatedly that she was sorry.
She said she put the gun in another bedroom “where they keep the guns.” She said she was calling from outside the house and had only her phone in her hand and her backpack on the ground. She asked what would happen to her, and the dispatcher told her he didn’t know.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t name juveniles charged with crimes.
Neighbour Rhonda Campo said she had lived near the family for 20 years but didn’t know them well. She described them as quiet.
“I don’t know what can go through a little kid’s mind,” Campo told WCPO-TV. “Nobody knows the circumstances or what went on.”
The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported that a bailiff in the courtroom Friday handed a box of tissues to weeping family members in the packed courtroom for the brief detention hearing.