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Teen charged with attempted murder

The 17-year-old girl is charged with stabbing her half brother, then turning on her mother.

© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 9, 2001

On Friday afternoon, 17-year-old Cynthia McKinney was a good student at Northeast High School with an after-school job, her own car and an estranged relationship with her mother and 9-year-old half brother.

By Saturday morning, the high school senior was charged with two counts of attempted murder after, sheriff's deputies said, she attacked her brother and mother with a knife.

Detectives said McKinney, who lives with court-appointed guardians in St. Petersburg, rarely spoke with her mother, 39-year-old Theodora Ray, and had long been jealous of her half brother, Jonathan.

About 7:40 Friday night, she went to her mother's apartment at 5841 Crestmont Ave. in the High Point area, carrying a concealed knife taken from her guardian's home.

The teenager said a passing hello to Theodora Ray and "indicated she was going to play a computer game with (Jonathan) in his bedroom," said Pinellas County sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha.

Jonathan, a High Point Elementary student, had been playing on the computer with friends earlier but was alone when his half sister joined him.

McKinney locked the door, and soon after, Ray heard screams coming from her son.

Pasha said that when Ray forced her way in, the boy was on the floor, bleeding from stab wounds to his chest.

The daughter then turned on her mother, trying to strangle and stab her, but her mother fought her off, suffering minor cuts to her arms, Pasha said.

McKinney fled, but St. Petersburg police arrested her later Friday as she returned to her guardians' home at 826 90th Ave. N.

Jonathan Ray was hospitalized in critical condition Friday night. Saturday, he remained in the intensive care unit at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Detectives said McKinney seldom visited her parent and sibling.

"However, the last time she was there was for a few hours earlier this week following an alleged argument with her guardian," said Pasha. The teenager then showed "no hostility toward her brother and left to stay with a friend," Pasha said.

A couple inside the guardians' home declined to comment Saturday afternoon, as did a devastated Theodora Ray, who spent the day at the hospital worrying about her son's life and her daughter's future.

-- Times staff writer Mike Brassfield contributed to this report.

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