Teen charged with murdering Memphis principal
17-year-old told investigators he planned to kill Suzette York because he did not like her and she had made him angry, police say
Seventh-day Adventists via wmctv Suzette York, the principal of a small Christian church in Memphis, was found slain on Wednesday.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis authorities on Thursday charged a 17-year-old student with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a Christian school principal on the third day of classes.
Memphis police said Eduardo Marmolejo stabbed 49-year-old Suzette York multiple times on Wednesday at Memphis Junior Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist school of about 100 students. State law allows police to release of names of juveniles charged with first-degree murder.
Police said Marmolejo told investigators he planned to kill York because he did not like her and that she had made him angry. Police say Marmolejo told authorities he knew that he was going to be alone with York in a classroom, giving him the opportunity to kill her.
Online records do not indicate if he has a lawyer.
Marvin Lowman, communications director for the Seventh-Day Adventist Kentucky-Tennessee Conference in Goodlettsville, had said he knew York and was "shocked and saddened" by her death.
The Memphis school is one of 19 church-affiliated schools in the two-state conference.
"You don't expect these kinds of things to happen, especially in a Christian school," Lowman said. "But we're all human, and they do."
Parents were called and classes were dismissed after York's body was discovered. Lowman said students won't report back to school until next week.
"We are trying to make arrangements to provide counseling for students and staff" when classes resume, he said.
York had been the principal of Memphis Junior Academy since 2008. She taught at the school in the 1990s, left to work in Canada, then was asked back to become principal, Lowman said.
"One of her dreams was to make this a 12-grade school, 13 if you count kindergarten," he said.
York was science and math teacher who had left the school but returned to become an administrator, said Peter Hunter, who attended the school for seven years and now has a 6-year-old cousin there.
He said York "cared deeply about the development of her students. This was not the way she was supposed to go."
"She came back here because she had a passion for the people," Hunter said.
Rev. David Steede II, pastor of New Covenant Seventh-day Adventist Church, came to the scene because several members of his church have children in the school, he told the Commercial Appeal.
He said that such a case is "very much out of the ordinary," but he understands how such things can happen.
"The Seventh-day Adventist Church understands, as a Christian entity, that indeed there is a constant battle between God and Satan... Even in a church situation the devil tries to show up."
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton called the killing "a very tragic situation" but said it was an isolated incident.
"The key thing at this time is to assure parents of children who are in school in general that this is a situation that is contained at this one location, and that it is not an active situation."
Some three hours after the slaying, about 30 people attended a 40-minute prayer service at the nearby Mullins United Methodist Church.
"We are afraid," the Rev. Scottie Brafford said during the service, referring to recent violence in Norway and elsewhere. "We do not know where the bottom is any longer."
In your lifetime, try to be the person your pet thinks you are.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
"The purity of a person's heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals"
"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!"
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