“I killed her. I killed her.”
The words were uttered in panic by a 13-year-old girl Saturday night as she washed blood from the knife she had fatally plunged into the chest of De’Kayla Dansberry, 15, during a fight that occurred minutes earlier, according to Cook County prosecutor Christina Hake, who cited eyewitness testimony at a juvenile court hearing Tuesday afternoon.
“Oh Jesus,” De’Kayla’s mother, Sheila Dansberry, whispered through tears as she watched the proceedings.
The girl — a seventh-grader — was charged with the slaying Tuesday morning.
She wore a pink hoodie and was carrying a knife when she left her home Saturday, Hake said.
The girl got the knife from her mother, Tamika Gayden, Chicago Police said later Tuesday.
Gayden, 35, of the 6400 block of South King Drive, was charged with murder and felony contributing to the delinquency of a minor, police said.
The mother and daughter turned themselves in, accompanied by an attorney, police said.
A video of the stabbing exists, Hake added, though she failed to say whether the footage was retrieved from a cellphone held by one of the many children who looked on as the fight broke out about 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in the 6500 block of South King Drive in front of the Parkway Gardens housing complex.
The girl charged in the stabbing death left her apartment “like she wanted to fight” and she was “panicking” upon return as she tried to dispose of the murder weapon, an eyewitness told authorities.
De’Kayla was an honor student and track athlete at Johnson College Prep, a charter school in the Englewood neighborhood.
One witness said the girl was the only person she knew who had a knife at the fight, Hake said.
When asked how she intended to plea, the girl — whom the Chicago Sun-Times is not identifying because she is a juvenile — told Cook County Judge Cynthia Ramirez, in a barely audible voice, “not guilty.”
She mostly remained silent, with her hands behind her back, in a blue county-issued uniform and looked at the floor.
Her only family member to attend the hearing Tuesday was an aunt who arrived late.
Ramirez denied a request that she be released with electronic monitoring and ordered the girl to remain in custody pending trial.
The girl’s attorney said she had “no publishable background” and was “absolutely terrified” of the situation she was in.
After the hearing, De’Kayla’s father, Julian Glanton, said he didn’t know what caused the fight.
“I’m sure it was probably just children, like kid stuff. But it shouldn’t have escalated to where someone was stabbed or anything like that,” he said.
“I miss my daughter. I just want justice for whoever did this to my daughter,” Glanton said. “There’s too much crazy madness going on in the world. I’m just lost for words. I don’t know what to say.”
De’Kayla was scheduled to compete in a state track meet Friday at Eastern Illinois University.