Trial begins for the 25-year-old man accused of killing a Brooklyn teenager because she refused to date him. One of the greatest pieces of evidence used was a statement given by the victim, who identified her killer in her final breaths.
Shemel Mercurius, 16, was fatally shot inside a Brooklyn apartment on May 31, 2016, and according to authorities, she identified her shooter as Taariq Stephens, reported the New York Daily News.
Shemel was a junior at Edward R. Murrow High School, and on the evening of the shooting, she was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin. While she babysat the child, Stephens allegedly appeared at the apartment and shot her three times with a submachine gun.
“There was a 3-year-old male child ... covered in blood crying next to the victim,” said Sgt. Ryan Habermehl. “It took about 20 minutes for EMS to arrive.”
When Officer Kyle Thomas Daly arrived at the apartment, he found Shemel bleeding heavily and leaning up against a wall.
“I put on gloves, took her off the car and laid her down and began rendering aid ... she regained consciousness, gave me her name and date of birth,” Daly testified. “It took a very long time for the ambulance to come, about 20 minutes.”
During her final moments alive, Shemel gave a statement to another detective and revealed Stephens wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but she did not, according to Daly.
When an ambulance finally arrived just before 7 p.m., Shemel was taken to Kings County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about around 7:57 p.m.
Shemel and Stephens met at a daycare center a week before the murder and exchanged phone numbers, authorities said.
Lona Junien, a friend of Shemel, had arrived at the apartment building just moments before the shooting. On the stand, she described what she saw.
“The person pushed her. The person said, ‘Don’t ever lie to me.' She was screaming, he took out the gun and shot her,” Junien, 18, testified.
Stephens was charged with second-degree murder and weapons charges and faces 25 years to life in prison.
(Photo: Deputy Commissioner, Public Information/NYPD)