When Mark O'Donnell was captured two days after killing 14-year-old Ebony Dorsey, he provided police with a murder confession that spanned four hours and 21 hand-written pages.
At the end of his confession, O'Donnell expressed awe that in light of his horrific acts, police still treated him like a human being.
" 'I can't believe anyone would talk to me,' " detectives quoted O'Donnell as saying at the end of his police interview.
The full transcript of O'Donnell's confession was read aloud yesterday during the third day of his capital murder trial in Montgomery County Court.
O'Donnell's lawyer, Thomas C. Egan III, hypothesized that his client "wanted to get it off his chest" by the time police found him at the home of a relative two days after Ebony's Dec. 7 murder.
During his confession interview, conducted with Montgomery County Detective James McGowan, O'Donnell was neither cuffed nor shackled. But it was hard to miss the cuts to his wrists or the rope burns around his neck, marks indicative of someone trying to kill himself, McGowan said.
The defense is not disputing that O'Donnell killed Ebony. The major points of contention in the trial are allegations of rape and sodomy.A forensic pathologist testified Wednesday that Dorsey had been raped - possibly by an inanimate object. A forensic biologist testified yesterday O'Donnell's DNA was not found in Dorsey's body.
According to McGowan, O'Donnell brought up allegations of sexual assault before his police interview got underway and before police revealed to him that they believed Ebony had been raped.
" 'I just want the people down in Ambler to know it was nothing sexual,' " McGowan quoted O'Donnell as saying.
The "people in Ambler" included Ebony's mother, Danielle Cattie, who was O'Donnell's girlfriend at the time.
O'Donnell spent the night and morning leading up to the slaying smoking crack with Cattie at her house while Ebony babysat his 4-year-old daughter, Kyra, at his estranged wife's apartment in Plymouth Township.
In his confession, O'Donnell told police that he arrived back to the apartment sometime after 5:30 a.m. and saw Kyra asleep on the sofa with her nightgown pulled up and her diaper pulled off. He said he thought Ebony was being inappropriate with his daughter.
" 'I got really angry and I lost it,' " he told police.
When Ebony stood up, he slapped her in the face and the two struggled into his daughter's room.
He told police he pinned her on the floor, face up, with his knees on her shoulders.
" 'The next I realized I had her pants wrapped around her neck,' " and was pulling the ends tighter, McGowan said, quoting O'Donnell.
When he realized Ebony was dead, O'Donnell told police he put his daughter in the bathtub and dumped out a 20-gallon plastic bin in which he stuffed the teenagers's body.
O'Donnell then committed one final insult against Ebony and his own daughter when he lied to the child about the bin, its contents and its destination.
"'I told Kyra I had to take some trash outside,'" O'Donnell told McGowan.
With his daughter in the car, O'Donnell drove the tub with Ebony's body to his nephew's home in Blue Bell, where it was eventually found.
Egan questioned McGowan's notes and memory in light of the detective's having worked the case for at least 24 hours with little sleep by the time he interviewed O'Donnell.
"You often get second winds, especially after getting a confession from a man who murdered a 14-year-old girl," McGowan said. *