Brooklyn man found guilty in fatal shooting of teen who spurned his advances
A Brooklyn man was convicted of manslaughter Friday for shooting a high school girl who authorities said he wanted to date.
Taariq Stephens, 26, quietly listened as he heard the late afternoon verdict on the 2016 death of 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius.
Mercurius used her dying breaths to tell police that Stephens was the attacker. He shot her with a submachine rifle while she was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin.
Trial testimony painted a chilling crime scene. Police kicked down the East Flatbush apartment door to find a blood-spattered boy crying, next to the dying teen.
After three days of deliberations, Brooklyn Supreme Court jurors acquitted Stephens of the top charge of murder but found him guilty of manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 16.
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Stephens’ “sinister act cut short the life of a promising young girl and undoubtedly traumatized her toddler cousin. His deadly actions destroyed lives, left her family heartbroken and deeply hurt our community.”
Stephens’ lawyer, Jay Cohen, said “it was a sad case all the way around.”
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