PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh 15-year-old choked his physically disabled best friend over a girl and beat him until he was unconscious, then pushed his body over a wooded hillside from which the victim emerged a day later, police said.
The accuser, Allan Littlejohn Jr., also 15, told police the two met in a park July 30 and were walking toward a convenience store when the suspect, Kenneth Murphy, asked him, "What's your last words before you die?"
Littlejohn said the two had argued over a girl, but he assumed his friend was joking — until Murphy attacked him.
Littlejohn, who has muscular dystrophy and sometimes uses leg braces, said Murphy kicked him in the head and rolled his body over the hillside.
"I remember him grabbing me by my throat and then poking me in the neck with something," said Littlejohn. Doctors noted he had had cuts on his neck, some of which could have been caused by a rope, wire or fishing line.
Littlejohn awoke in the rain about a day later and crawled out of the woods and asked for help. He also told police he believes Murphy stole his watch and smartphone.
Littlejohn spoke with reporters Monday after being released from the hospital, his eyes still bloodshot from the trauma and marks visible on his neck.
Murphy acknowledged the attack in an interview with WPXI-TV, sobbing as he said, "I'm just so sorry, Allan, if I could take it back."
Detectives who saw that confession on the news Aug. 1 charged Murphy in juvenile court, before deciding to treat Murphy as an adult due to the severity of the attack. He's charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery.
"Hospital staff were impressed by the brutality, severity, ferocity of this assault," detectives wrote in a criminal complaint. In addition to the cuts on Littlejohn's neck, doctors observed bleeding in the brain and eyes.
Littlejohn's father, Allan Sr., said he's still struggling to understand what happened.
"I thought he was my son's best friend," the father said. "He came here and had dinner. Next thing you know, he choked my son, beat him up, left him for dead. I mean, that's a friend?"
Court records don't list an attorney for Murphy, who remained jailed Tuesday, unable to post $500,000 bond. He faces a preliminary hearing Friday.