With his right hand raised in surrender and his left hand clasped in his mother's, accused murderer and fugitive Jason Holland of Thousand Oaks ended three weeks of flight from authorities Sunday when he turned himself in to Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.
Holland and his mother, Sharry Holland, who had pleaded with her son on television to surrender, entered the Lost Hills sheriff's station at 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
"He was tired and a little scared and confused, but calm," Sharry Holland said later. "He knew it was something he had to do."
Holland was interrogated by homicide detectives and transferred to the Los Angeles County Men's Jail, where he awaits arraignment, a sheriff's deputy said.
Holland, 18, was booked on suspicion of murder in the May 22 fight inside a ramshackle back-yard clubhouse that resulted in the stabbing death of 16-year-old James Farris III of Agoura Hills, the son of a Los Angeles police detective. James' friend, Michael McLoren, also 16, was stabbed three times during the incident.
Another adult and three juveniles in custody have been charged with murder, attempted murder and robbery in the incident.
Authorities said a group of five youths went to the clubhouse in McLoren's grandparents' back yard at 7 p.m. While a 17-year-old Agoura Hills youth waited outside with his truck, the other four went into the clubhouse, where a fight over marijuana ensued, police said.
James' father, James Farris II, has called his son's assailants "monsters." He said his son, who is known as Jimmy, died coming to the defense of his friend.
Brandon Wade Hein, 18, of Oak Park, is being held without bail at the Los Angeles County Men's Jail, awaiting arraignment June 22. Three juveniles are being held at Sylmar Juvenile Hall, awaiting a hearing Friday to determine whether they will be tried as adults.
Prosecutors say they could seek the death penalty against the adults because the slaying was committed during a robbery in which a deadly weapon was used.
Four of the suspects were arrested soon after the slaying, but Holland fled.
It wasn't until a little after 1 a.m. Sunday morning, when the scruffy and exhausted teen-ager knocked on his mother's apartment door in Thousand Oaks, that Sharry Holland knew the whereabouts of her son, she said.
"I let him in and we hugged one another and cried and cried," she said.
"I tried to feed him whatever was in the fridge, but he didn't have much of an appetite. He washed up, put on a fresh pair of sneakers and brushed his teeth."
Within an hour, Jason, his mother and a family friend were enduring a silent ride to the sheriff's office. Mother and son held hands the entire way.
As he was led away down the station-house hallway for interrogation, Sharry Holland said her son turned to her and said, "I love you."
"I love you too, babe," the mother told her son in reply.
A single mother, Holland said she didn't question her son about the stabbing during the late-night reunion in the kitchen. Instead, she wanted simply to be near her son before losing him to the justice system.
"I let him know that I still love him and am proud that he came forward to do the right thing," she said.
Holland said her son spent his three weeks on the lam "hopping around and ducking out" in the San Fernando Valley. "I don't know how he did it. He had no money, no car and he said he didn't contact any of his friends. Somehow he existed on the street."
Meanwhile, she spent three weeks trying to make sense of the tragedy. The 40-year-old real estate saleswoman found herself unable to work, unable to concentrate. She sent her young daughter to live with a relative.
"I don't even know how to tell her about her brother. How do you explain this to a 5-year-old?" she asked.
While her son hid out in the Valley, Sharry Holland finally located the boy's father, who abandoned the family when Jason was 6. But she is still searching for an explanation for the events of that May evening that sent her son to jail.
"All we know is there was a great deal of struggle inside that shack," Holland said, referring to the back-yard clubhouse. "But now Jason has come forward and he's going to tell the truth and we'll find out just what happened."