Man de­scribes botched bur­glary

Killing of 16-year-old was im­pro­vised, felon says, calls 14-year-old a party to plot

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Justin Fen­ton jfen­ton@balt­

Six­teen-year-old City Col­lege stu­dent Ar­ne­sha Bow­ers was a “nice lit­tle girl” who “seemed spoiled” be­cause she had a new iPhone, a man who has pleaded guilty to par­tic­i­pat­ing in her mur­der tes­ti­fied Wed­nes­day.

Adonay Dixon, 25, took the stand at the mur­der trial of Rae­shawn Rivers, 14, and calmly laid out the se­quence of events last year that saw a botched bur­glary of Bow­ers’ home turn into a killing they sought to cover up by set­ting fires.

Prose­cu­tors say Rivers, whois be­ing tried as an adult, was an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the June 2015 killing. Dixon tes­ti­fied that Rivers had agreed to help dis­tract Bow­ers, who had a crush on him, while the oth­ers ri­fled through the home.

Dixon said there was no plan or dis­cus­sion about harm­ing Bow­ers — un­til another co-de­fen­dant who has pleaded guilty, 22-year-old John Childs, un­ex­pect­edly struck her re­peat­edly over the head with a meat ten­der­izer.

At that point, Dixon tes­ti­fied, he thought: “‘If she’s not dead, she’s got to die.’”

“Why did she have to die?” As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Sharon Hol­back asked.

“In case she woke up and went to tell,” Dixon said.

Rivers’ de­fense at­tor­ney is ar­gu­ing that he had af­fec­tion for Bow­ers and was hang­ing out with her when the men be­gan at­tack­ing her.

She told ju­rors Tues­day that Rivers was pow­er­less to stop the older men.

Dixon pleaded guilty to first-de­gree mur­der, ar­son, bur­glary, armed rob­bery and re­lated con­spir­acy counts in ex­change for a sen­tence of life with all but 50 years sus­pended.

His plea agree­ment called for him to tes­tify.

Dixon said he had known Rivers for only two months but had grown close to him. Bow­ers in­vited Rivers to her home on June 6, 2015, Dixon said, and the three de­vised a plan to steal items.

Rivers said he wanted her iPhone, and they would split up the rest.

“We was plan­ning on some­how slid­ing in there … and get what we get and leave,” Dixon said.

Bow­ers, in a bed­room with Rivers, saw a shadow and left to in­ves­ti­gate, Dixon said.

She was star­tled to find Dixon and Childs in the home, he said, but she con­tin­ued hang­ing out with the three of them.

She fixed Dixon “a plate of greens,” he said, and told him to help him­self to some­thing to drink while they watched TV.

Prose­cu­tors told ju­rors in open­ing ar­gu­ments that Dixon grabbed Bow­ers in a bear hug, then handed the meat ten­der­izer to Childs, who struck her.

Dixon tes­ti­fied that there was no plan to hurt her.

He said he had grabbed the meat ten­der­izer and tossed it to Childs.

Asked why he picked it up, he said: “I re­ally couldn’t say. I grabbed it just to grab it.”

Childs, how­ever, looked at him as if seek­ing di­rec­tion, he said.

Childs sud­denly struck her in the head, he said. She pleaded with Childs to stop, but he struck her sev­eral more times un­til she was un­con­scious, Dixon said.

Rivers looked on stunned, Dixon tes­ti­fied, but didn’t say any­thing or in­ter­vene.

“Did [Rivers] tell any­one to let her live, or to stop hurt­ing her?” Hol­back asked. Dixon said no.

Dixon said he de­ter­mined that Bow­ers had to be killed and her body dis­posed of. He said Childs took her into the base­ment while Rivers and Dixon ran­sacked the home for elec­tron­ics, food and other be­long­ings.

Dixon said Rivers helped spread flammable liq­uid up­stairs that was set ablaze.

Prose­cu­tors have said Bow­ers was raped and stran­gled with a wire, and her body was set on fire in ad­di­tion to other parts of the home.

Childs pleaded guilty last week and was sen­tenced to life in prison.

He is not ex­pected to tes­tify.

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