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'You Have the Right to Remain Silent' : A videotape. A revolver. A jealous ex-boyfriend. All of this--and none of this--explains how a teen-ager from a family of selfless public servants came to be a suspect in a brutal robbery and a murder.

September 25, 1995|FRANK AHRENS | THE WASHINGTON POST

"Our heart just goes out to them so much," she says. Her husband nods. "At some point," she continues, "when it seems right, we'd like to meet them. We really would. It might help."

Suzanne Edmondson moves uncomfortably around her daughter's room, with its mementos from a Girl Scout, choir-girl youth.

Is this the room where Sarah Edmondson first turned away from the light?

It all broke in December, 1990. During that month, one of Sarah's best friends committed suicide. Another friend was killed in a car crash. And soon after her grandfather Ed Edmondson saw his alma mater--the U.S. Naval Academy--score a touchdown in the Army-Navy game on TV, the lifelong public servant died of a heart attack at his home five blocks away.

When Jim Edmondson came back from watching his dead father being taken out on a stretcher, he went up to Sarah's room, held his daughter and told the 13-year-old that her beloved granddad had just died.

She threw her telephone through the window nearest her bed. The only other thing she broke in her room was the glass in a picture frame. Inside the frame was a silhouette of Sarah.

A couple of days later, she came home with a dozen cans of black spray paint. She took the things off her walls, brought down the lace drapes and covered the cheerful, flowered wallpaper with great, looping streaks of black.

Since then, Jim and Suzanne Edmondson have repainted Sarah's room. Suzanne points to the dark orange ceiling.

"See? You can still see the black underneath."

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