On what should have been their daughter's 15th birthday, the parents of Ebony Nicole Dorsey attended a court proceeding yesterday for the man accused of murdering her.
Mark Patrick O'Donnell, 48, of Plymouth Township, appeared before a district court judge and waived his preliminary hearing on charges that now include rape. Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Steele said autopsy results led to the additional charge.
The teen's mother, who had a four-year romantic relationship with O'Donnell, said the hearing marked the first time she had seen the defendant since the discovery of her daughter's body on Dec. 9. Police found it in a small storage bin, where they said O'Donnell concealed it outside the Blue Bell residence of his nephew.
"Right now, I'm too angry to even talk," said Danielle Cattie, of Whitpain Township, after the hearing.
Evan Dorsey, the victim's father, said he anticipated a difficult day and had to say a prayer to calm himself when he first saw O'Donnell.
"I'm going to let the fine people of Montgomery County take care of this guy," he said.
Relatives have said that O'Donnell has exacerbated their grief by attempting to blame the homicide on the victim. He contended that he flew into a rage after he caught the teen molesting his 4-year-old daughter, an assertion prosecutors called baseless.
Yesterday, O'Donnell stared straight ahead and remained silent as he passed a phalanx of cameras in and out of the courtroom, a demeanor that pleased his court-appointed attorney, Thomas Egan 3d.
"I told him to keep his mouth shut," said Egan.
Egan said he had not been contacted by Philadelphia police, who reportedly had interest in O'Donnell in connection with an unsolved 2006 triple homicide. O'Donnell was one of about 20 nurses who worked for the Fowler family at the time that three family members were fatally shot.
"It's my understanding that he's not involved," said Egan.
Asked if O'Donnell had shown any remorse, Egan described his client as "humbled." O'Donnell attempted to take his life at the prison and was still housed in the medical wing of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, Egan said.
The prosecutor said he had no knowledge of a suicide attempt.
O'Donnell, whose charges include first-degree murder, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, abuse of a corpse and drug possession, has admitted killing the teen, who had been baby-sitting his daughter while he did drugs with Cattie at her home.