When the mother of a 7-year-old boy charged in the horrific killing of an 11-year-old girl sees her son, she sees her "baby," a child who wins attendance awards at school, picks up in the yard and likes to snack on honey buns.
Not an aggressor, not the boy police say knocked little Ryan Harris off her bike by hitting her in the head with a rock on July 28. The girl died of asphyxiation with her panties stuffed in her mouth and leaves and grass jammed in her nostrils. Police say the boy and an 8-year-old friend killed Ryan for her shiny blue bicycle."I look at him, and I don't see a murderer," the woman said through sobs during an interview Thursday in the Chicago Trib-une. "I see my baby. He is my baby."
The two boys are charged with the murder in the Englewood neighborhood, on the city's South Side. They're being held at a psychiatric hospital in Chicago and are scheduled to be in court Thursday afternoon.
In the interview, the mother said her son is a rambunctious child who earns dollars and quarters by offering to fold clothes or sweep out the neighborhood laundromat.
"He offers to fix the shelves in the store; he picks up yards," said the 27-year-old, who works as a supervisor at a fast-food restaurant and has three other children - ages 10, 8 and 5.
"I spoil him," she said, noting that she likes to give him his favorite goodies: snack cakes, honey buns and hot dogs.
After a court hearing Tuesday, the woman and her husband got to spend a few minutes with the boy in the courtroom, but bailiffs forbade them from touching him.
"I want to hug my baby," she said. "I said, `Can't you see that boy needs a hug?' And they said, `We aren't allowed to let you touch him.' "
"He's so little. He's so scared," she said. "I felt a tear coming down, and I had to walk away."