An Allentown teenager faces adult charges after Pittsburgh police said he choked and kicked his best friend over a dispute about a girl and then left the boy on a hillside.
The charges against Kenneth Murphy, 15, became public this weekend, after officials decided to charge him as an adult rather than a juvenile based on the severity of his friend's injuries. Kenneth faces charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery.
Pittsburgh police were called to Grandview Park in Mount Washington about 9 p.m. July 31 after two people spotted Allan Littlejohn Jr., 15, who is disabled, crawling out of weeds in the park and asking for help because "Kenny tried to kill him," according to a criminal complaint. Medics took Allan to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in serious condition.
Allan Littlejohn Sr., 49, said his son has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which he described as a form of muscular dystrophy.
Allan told detectives who interviewed him in the hospital the next day he had been fighting with Kenneth -- his best friend for three years -- over a misunderstanding involving Kenneth's girlfriend.
Allan told police he and Kenneth met at the CoGo's on Bailey Avenue about 10:30 p.m. July 30, and when they walked through the Grandview Park entrance on their way home, Kenneth asked him, "What's your last words before you die?"
Kenneth, who is a wrestler, put his hands around Allan's neck, choked him until he fell to the ground and then kicked him in the head until he passed out, according to the complaint.
Allan told police that he awoke in the park the next day, his eyes swollen shut. He said that he lay there for about an hour before he crawled up the hillside and encountered the two people who called 911 for him. He also told police he thought Kenneth had stolen his watch and iPhone.
"It's a parent's worst nightmare," Mr. Littlejohn said Monday.
While detectives were consulting with the district attorney's office about whether to file charges in the case, they learned over the police radio that Kenneth had gone to the Zone 3 station in Allentown because he wanted to turn himself in.
Detectives watched the 11 p.m. newscast Aug. 1 and saw Kenneth confess to a WPXI reporter. Police originally charged Kenneth as a juvenile that day and took him to the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.
Last week, the district attorney's office approved charging him as an adult after receiving a detailed list of Allan's injuries from a doctor who treated him at Children's Hospital.
Doctors noted in their records that Allan had several cuts on his neck, some of which appeared to have been caused by a ropelike object, possibly wire or fishing line; minor bleeding to the brain; hemorrhages in both eyes, which occurs following strangulation or blows to the eyes; and a high CPK, which happens when someone loses consciousness and does not move for a significant period of time.
Detectives wrote in the complaint that "hospital staff were impressed by the brutality, severity, ferocity of this assault" and "without medical attention the victim could have died."
Kenneth was arraigned early Saturday morning. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $500,000 bail, according to online court records.
Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. Lexi Belculfine contributed. First Published August 12, 2013 4:45 AM