SPOKANE, Wash. -- According to court documents filed Wednesday, Avondre Graham admitted to investigators he hit Sharlotte McGill with a large rock and stabbed her to death.
Graham told police the morning of May 3, 2012 he was sitting on a rock near Tuffy’s trail when McGill walked by him. He claimed McGill made a racial slur and commented on his music. Graham said he became upset and picked up two baseball-size rocks.
According to court documents, Graham admitted to throwing one of the rocks at the back of McGill’s head, bringing her to her knees. He said he grabbed a folding knife from his pocket and stabbed McGill three times, and she started to scream. He then threw the knife into the river and walked back to his apartment.
Police interviewed Graham shortly after the murder and took a DNA sample from him. The sample did not match DNA found on McGill. Police say that does not mean Graham is not the killer.
“McGill had many people that attended to her at the last moments of her life, from police officers to medical personnel to witnesses. The DNA evidence could have been transferred a variety of different ways, so it's not to say that because his DNA didn't match he didn't do it; it just means we have to look for more physical evidence,” said Officer Jennifer Deruwe, Spokane Police spokesperson.
Police arrested Graham, 17, on September 13, the day a woman walking near Mission Park said Graham beat and robbed her.
The woman, Debbie Watkins, gave police the same description McGill gave before she died of her stab wounds. McGill told police a black man with an odd eye stabbed her several times on South Riverton, near the area where the Mission park attack happened.
A Good Samaritan ran after Graham following Watkins’ attack. Police arrested Graham, who ran into the Spokane River to get away. Police say Graham admitted to attacking Watkins.
Spokane police quickly began considering a connection between the two cases.
Detectives said during questioning, Graham also had extensive knowledge about McGill’s murder.
Graham had become a person of interest in the McGill case immediately following her death. Police continued to keep him in mind, along with a list of others, since that time.
According to court documents, when Graham was asked why he assaulted these women, he replied “because I wanted them to feel the pain I feel”. Graham said he was in pain because his uncle was pronounced brain dead the same day he killed McGill.
Graham is also charged with a third attack involving a Gonzaga University student near campus in August.
Bail was set for Graham at $1 Million.