Judge orders mental evaluation for student - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Judge orders mental evaluation for student accused of killing principal

Eduardo Marmolejo (center) outside 201 Poplar late Wednesday night. Eduardo Marmolejo (center) outside 201 Poplar late Wednesday night.
Suzette York Suzette York

(WMC-TV) - A Juvenile Court judge has ordered a mental evaluation for a 17-year-old student charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Christian school principal.

Eduardo Marmolejo is charged with killing 49-year-old Suzette York on Wednesday at Memphis Junior Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist school of about 100 students, Memphis police said Thursday.

Marmolejo told investigators he had planned to stab the woman on the third day of classes, when he knew he'd be alone with her in a classroom, police said Thursday.

Marmolejo told police he wanted to kill York because he did not like her and she had made him angry.

State law allows police to release the names of juveniles charged with first-degree murder.

During his first appearance in juvenile court, prosecutors argued Marmolejo is a danger to himself and the community.

A judge ordered that he remain in custody and see a psychologist, saying, "Because of the nature of the allegations, the court has concerns over the mental state of the child. The court is going to order an evaluation by clinical services."

After court, family friends declined comment, and deputies escorted the Marmolejos to a secure garage, allowing their van to pick them up inside to avoid television cameras.

But court appointed defense attorney Autumn Chastain said the case will hinge on Marmolejo's psychological evaluation.

"It's just a very serious allegation, and we need to know everything that's going on in the case," Chastain said.

Meanwhile, Chastain added, the suspect's family will seek privacy.

"The involvement's too early," she said. "I think we should just give them some privacy. It's a difficult time for all of them."

Marmolejo will appear in juvenile court again in two weeks.

State law allows police to release the names of juveniles charged with first-degree murder.

During an appearance Thursday on CNN, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said there were no red flags in Marmolejo's past.

"Don't know what could have possibly triggered him to reach in this manner," said Armstrong.

Neighbors in Marmolejo's East Memphis neighborhood said they never thought he would be charged with murder.

"It's like right next door," said neighbor Jacob Rhudy.  "Just one house down."

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