Memphis school principal stabbing case could be negotiated

Associated Press • Jul 16, 2013 at 4:03 PM

MEMPHIS — Attorneys in Memphis say the murder case against a teenager charged with fatally stabbing his high school principal could be headed for trial or settlement.

Eduardo Marmolejo (mar-meh-LAY'-hoh) appeared briefly in Shelby County Criminal Court on Monday.

Marmolejo is now 18. He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of at Memphis Junior Academy Principal Suzette York, 49, who was stabbed at least 9 times in the head and neck on Aug. 10, 2011. Marmolejo was 16 at the time of the killing.

The Commercial Appeal reported prosecutor Reginald Henderson and defense attorney Leslie Ballin said they might soon announce whether the case will go to trial or be settled through plea negotiations.

The next scheduled hearing in the case is on Aug. 5.

Authorities said Marmolejo was angry with school personnel, and particularly with York, for allegedly taking away unspecified "privileges that he held dear."

Investigators said Marmolejo admitted killing York and said he had planned the attack since the end of the previous school year in May 2011. He sharpened his knife the night before the homicide and tried to flush it down a toilet after the incident, police said. He also flushed a pair of gloves and police said he changed his clothing after the attack.

Court documents state Marmolejo considered himself a ninja and that he researched methods about how to kill more efficiently.

He is undergoing further mental evaluations. Previous mental psychological examinations have determined that Marmolejo has "a very involved fantasy life," but that he also is highly intelligent with an IQ of at least 106.

During one evaluation, Marmolejo stopped answering questions and told a psychologist his attorney had told him not to talk about certain issues, according to court filings.

Marmolejo remains in jail without bond.

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