Slain teenage girl 'was easily swayed'

Lashonda Flynn was a sweet girl who couldn't say no, especially to boys, her grandmother said yesterday, and that's what got her into trouble.

"Lashonda, she was easily swayed; she got overpowered by strong personalities," said Olla Pinder, who took Flynn into her Northgate home about eight years ago. "She'd do anything to get their attention, to be with them. She'd do anything to stay with that person."

Flynn, 17, was identified as the girl found dead in Discovery Park on Monday. Yesterday, the two people involved in what prosecutors say was a lovers' triangle with Flynn were charged with her slaying.

Demar Rhome, 20, and Kialani Brown, 17, will be arraigned Dec. 8 in King County Superior Court on second-degree murder charges. Brown will be charged as an adult because of the serious nature of the crime.

In charging papers, prosecutors and police told a grisly story based on sometimes contradictory statements:

On Nov. 20, Brown, Flynn and Rhome were partying in the lower unit of a duplex in the 2300 block of East Pine Street, according to charging papers. Brown and Flynn started arguing, and Rhome left the room. When he returned, he found Flynn with her hands bound and her face covered, prosecutors said.

Brown then stabbed Flynn at least four times with either one or two kitchen knives purchased from a discount store on Capitol Hill. Flynn begged for Rhome's help, but he stood and watched.

Charging papers say Rhome then helped Brown clean up the room and hide Flynn's body in a closet. About 10 a.m. the next day, Nov. 21, Brown called for a Yellow Cab. Rhome and Brown had wrapped Flynn's body in bedding and put it in a duffel bag.

Charging papers say Rhome, Brown and her 2-year-old daughter got in the cab with the bag and drove to Discovery Park. The cab driver helped remove the bag from the trunk when they arrived at the park's south entrance. The driver thought they were going to camp in the park. He is not a suspect in the case, police said.

Charging papers say Brown and Rhome were dating, and Flynn was Rhome's ex-girlfriend. Police said jealously between the two girls over Rhome led to the killing.

Pinder, Flynn's grandmother, said Flynn and Rhome began dating about a year ago. Pinder said she disapproved of the relationship because Rhome was too old, but Flynn ran away from home and moved in with him.

During that year, Pinder said Flynn called several times a week from a pay phone or from Rhome's house to ask for money or to chat.

Pinder said Flynn started the relationship with Rhome, but within months, Flynn was saying that Rhome was physically abusive and even trying to get her to prostitute herself on Aurora Avenue.

The last call home came Nov. 19, Pinder said, and during their conversation, Rhome interrupted and said he didn't want Flynn in his apartment anymore. Then Rhome and Flynn started screaming at each other.

"I said, 'Lashonda, that man doesn't want you there. Get your stuff and come home,' " Pinder said. "And she didn't want to hear that, and she hung up."

Flynn, who dropped out of Ingraham High School last year, had run away with another boy once before, Pinder said.

"As soon as we sat her down and told her it wasn't the thing to do, she just went out and did it again," Pinder said. "She was doing too much, too fast."

Flynn's mother lives in Federal Way. She was young when she had Flynn and couldn't handle raising her, Pinder said.

Not much is known about Brown, who recently moved to Seattle from Clark County. She has had some run-ins with the law, including an arrest for theft and forgery.

Rhome is a product of the foster-care system. As a juvenile, he was charged eight times with crimes, but in each case, the courts dismissed the charges because he wasn't mentally competent to stand trial.

He was diagnosed by doctors as paranoid schizophrenic and developmentally disabled, and referred to treatment specialists, private hospitals and several different foster-care opportunities.

Yesterday, the attorney supervising King County's juvenile division admitted that Rhome fell through the cracks.

"Here's a kid who can go through the system without ever being held accountable, and over time, it gets worse and worse," said Dan Soukup, in charge of the juvenile division. "It's not that nobody cared about him, it's not that nobody tried to help. There was nothing anybody could do. It's sad, it's terribly sad."

Michael Ko: 206-515-5653 or