Trial is underway for the 25-year-old accused of killing a teenager because she refused to date him. Police testified that the victim was able to identify her killer moments before passing away.
Shemel Mercurius, 16, was fatally shot inside a New York apartment on May 31, 2016, and according to authorities, she identified her shooter as Taariq Stephens, reports the New York Daily News.
The junior at Edward R. Murrow High School was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin when Stephens allegedly showed up at the Brooklyn Ave. residence and shot her three times with a submachine gun.
First responder Sargent Ryan Habermehl described the horrifying scene, telling jurors, “There was a 3-year-old male child … covered in blood crying next to the victim.” After calling for assistance, Habermehl claimed, “It took about 20 minutes for EMS to arrive” at the Brooklyn apartment.
Upon his arrival, Officer Kyle Thomas Daly found Mercurius bleeding heavily and leaning against a wall. While going in and out of consciousness, the dying teen told another detective that Stephens wanted to be her boyfriend but she wasn’t interested, Daly testified in the murder trial.
Authorities claim Mercurius and Stephens met at a daycare center the week before the murder and exchanged phone numbers.
An ambulance arrived at the scene at 6:55 p.m., and the victim died at Kings County Hospital at 7:57 p.m.
If convicted, Stephens faces 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder and weapons charges.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.