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Girl, 14, Held in Slaying of Mother and Boyfriend

March 11, 2006|From Associated Press

LEMOORE, Calif. — A 14-year-old girl is the only suspect so far in the murder of her mother and the mother's live-in boyfriend, authorities said.

Regina Norris and her boyfriend, Lawrence Norris, each died Monday from a single gunshot to the head, Kings County Sheriff Allan McClain said late Thursday.

The bodies, which were found in the couple's apartment, showed no other signs of trauma, and investigators have said the apartment wasn't disturbed in a way that would indicate there was any struggle.

Police said high school freshman Brittany Norris, Regina Norris' child from a previous marriage, confessed to the crimes Monday night. She is not related to Lawrence Norris, though they share a last name.

The teenager's lawyer called the investigators' handling of the case, and of his client, "atrocious" and "beyond shocking." Attorney Gerald Schwab Jr. said Brittany Norris was held for hours and questioned without having an attorney or family member present

"They badgered her and manipulated her," Schwab said, describing his client as an honor student reeling from the death of her mother. "She's terrified and in shock, and now they're saying she's confessed."

Investigators are now trying to reconstruct the family's last week together. They found a gun at the scene they believe was the murder weapon, but they still don't know who owned it, or if it was kept at the house.

The girl was booked into Kings County Juvenile Hall with no bail and pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of murder.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 26.

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