It is the story of a promising young girl who got caught up with the wrong crowd.
Afrika Owes, a former standout student at the prestigious Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, was poised for the Ivy Leagues.
The 17-year-old was arrested in February for allegedly helping her gang-affiliated boyfriend run guns in her Harlem neighborhood.
Owes had been held at Rikers Island since her arrest and was formally released on Thursday. Prosecutors in the case said she helped caused “untold havoc” with her boyfriend’s 14-member gang, The New York Daily News reports.
In April, Owes was bailed out by Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. In July she accepted a plea deal after she pleaded guilty to felony gun charges.
That deal is what spared her from more prison time, including a minimum 3 1/2 year sentence for a gun charge, the report adds.
Now the teen is looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
Writes the Daily News:
"I'm just ready for school," the 17-year-old Harlem girl told the Daily News.
She declined to comment further, but her lawyer insisted Owes learned a valuable lesson.
"She learned a lot from this, and she will continue to learn from this," said Elsie Chandler of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. "The court released her so that she can return to school, among other stringent requirements."
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin, who released Owes, set a strict curfew for her as one of the requirements.
On her Facebook page, Owes' mother Karen posted an emphatic message, saying, "FREE AT LAST! My baby girl is home! Yeah to patient and praying MOTHERS! There is No Place Like Home.”
Owes will start her senior year at a New York City high school on Sept. 8.
The other accused gangbangers are set to stand trial on Sept. 13.
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