Teenage murder suspect turned in by his mother

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

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SEATTLE —

"There's no question. He admitted where he went. He admitted being the one that did this crime."  

Longtime Seattle homicide detective Cloyd Steiger said he is certain they have the teenager who robbed and killed 54-year-old David Peterson.  

"It isn't a big mystery at this point," said Steiger.

 But it was a mystery that terrible Sunday night more than a week ago.

"The night we got there we had no information," said Steiger.  "We had a guy that was dead and he was reporting a robbery before that.  We knew his phone was missing because it wasn't on him when we found him.  And we had a younger black male running from the scene.  And that's all we know."  

Steiger said it took three or four days of clues -- or dominos, as he calls them -- to identify 17-year-old Byron White as the killer.  

Still, detectives didn't know where White was. But his mother knew he was on his way to Atlanta.  

"He was going to live with her brother. And her brother was going to give him a job and let him get back in school and kind of straighten his life out," Steiger said. "That's what she believed."  

Then she saw the news that he was wanted for murder.  

"Once she saw that," said Steiger, "She's the one that called the police and said 'he's at the airport.' "  

That's where White was arrested.  

"You know, like she said,  'I had no choice.'  Those were the words she told me. ' I have no choice,'" said Steiger.

"Why?" asked KIRO 7 reporter Deborah Horne.

"Because she's an upstanding citizen and she can't put up with this either," said Steiger.  "That's the double tragedy for her."  

A tragedy -- especially for Peterson and his family.  

"It could have happened to anybody.  That's the thing," said Steiger.  "This victim had nothing to do with his own death."  

Steiger said White did say he was sorry about the murder, but only when he was asked.  

The King County prosecutor must decide by Wednesday whether to charge White with murder.