- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 22, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The teenage girl accused of stabbing another girl to death outside a Montgomery County school football game was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder and weapons charges.

The judge rejected a self-defense claim and said the killer lied so much that he doubted she can distinguish fact from fiction.

He acknowledged the dead girl, Kanisha Neal, 15, threw the first punch, but said her killer was smaller and in better shape than Kanisha, who weighed more than 200 pounds, so she could have run away or yelled for help.

She instead stabbed Kanisha five times, driving the knife more than 3 inches into her chest Sept. 23 outside James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring.

Authorities said the teenager had been involved in an earlier dispute with Kanisha’s half sister.

Kanisha’s relatives acknowledged that she started the fight, but said it did not have to end the way it did.

“Things like that happen, but the truth came out — she was there, she knew what was going on, she had herself prepared with a knife to begin with,” said Stephanie Neal, the dead teen’s sister. “So regardless of who initiated what, she still was at fault.”

The killer, who was 15 at the time of the slaying and recently turned 16, is not being identified because of her age.

The teen faces punishments ranging from probation to being in juvenile custody until she turns 21.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5.

Stephanie Neal said the maximum will never be enough.

“The amount of time that we have to suffer, which is the rest of our lives, she needs to suffer, too,” she said.

The killer’s family issued a statement after the verdict in which they said Kanisha was an “unfortunate victim who was taken to the game to attack an individual whom she did not know.”

“We will continue to pray that God will comfort and strengthen the Neal family during their bereavement,” the statement also read.

Kanisha’s killing was the second after a Montgomery County school football game in as many weeks.

Stephone Wiggins, 23, was beaten to death with a miniature baseball bat on Sept. 16. The off-campus attack followed a game at Seneca Valley High School.

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