Chicago Mother and her 13-Year-Old Daughter Both Charged in Murder of Teenage Track Star

A memorial for 15-year-old De'Kayla Dansberry is placed at the 6500 block of South Martin Luther King Drive where she was stabbed to death when a large group began fighting in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood.
A memorial for 15-year-old De’Kayla Dansberry is placed at the 6500 block of South Martin Luther King Drive where she was stabbed to death when a large group began fighting in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood.

South Side mother stood next to her daughter Thursday for the first time in a Cook County courtroom since both were charged in the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl in May.

Even though the mother, Tamika Gayden, is being held without bail in Cook County Jail, she was brought over by sheriff’s deputies to Juvenile Court to attend her 13-year-old daughter’s hearing. Under juvenile law in Illinois, parents have a right to be present at every court appearance involving their minor child.

Each held their hands behind their backs as they stood before Judge Lana Charisse Johnson. From the back of the courtroom, the family of the victim, De’Kayla Dansberry, looked on.

The judge ordered Gayden’s daughter have her cheek swabbed for DNA. Prosecutors told the judge they want to submit the evidence to the state crime lab as soon as possible because the lab was already so backlogged it wouldn’t be able to conduct tests until February.

After Gayden gave her consent, the judge also said she would allow the principal, assistant principal and a counselor from the girl’s school, Charles R. Henderson Elementary School, to visit the teen in the juvenile detention center, where she is being held while awaiting trial.

“Love y’all,” Gayden, 35, said to her daughter and other family members in the courtroom as she was led away after the proceedings. Johnson ordered that Gayden be brought over for all her daughter’s court appearances.

The Tribune is not naming the girl because she has been charged as juvenile. Her mother, on the other hand, is being tried as an adult.

Prosecutors have said De’Kayla, a popular track standout at Johnson College Prep, was walking to the store with several friends when they passed the building where Gayden and her daughter lived in the 6400 block of South King Drive in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. A verbal argument broke out between the two groups, prosecutors said.

Before the 13-year-old girl and her friends ran out to confront De’Kayla’s group, Gayden told her daughter to get a switchblade out of Gayden’s purse and use it if there was a fight, prosecutors said.

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Source: Chicago Tribune | Steve Schmadeke