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Brooklyn man who murdered a 16-year-old Guyanese girl gets 41 years jail

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced yesterday that a 26-year old East Flatbush man was sentenced to 41 years in prison for the 2016 shooting death of 16-year old Shemel Mercurius.

According to trial testimony, Taariq Stephens pushed his way into a sixth-story apartment in Flatbush Gardens just before 6:00 pm on May 31, 2016, carrying a .40 caliber submachine rifle. He only fired one shot.

That shot struck the young Shemel Mercurius in the arm while she was babysitting her 3-year old cousin. When police arrived, Mercurius was able to tell them the first name of her shooter before she was rushed to Kings County Hospital.

90 minutes after the shooting, she was dead.

Surveillance footage from the scene showed the Stephens outside the door with a rifle, then forcing his way into the apartment when the teenager denied him entry. Shemel Mercurius was a student at Murrow High, having immigrated from Guyana four years before the incident, with hopes of attending college in the U.S.

“This defendant will now spend many years behind bars for the callous killing of an innocent teenage girl who was taken from her loved ones far too early,” said District Attorney Gonzalez in a statement. “Nothing can bring Shemel back to her devastated family, but I hope that today’s sentence will afford them a small measure of solace.”

Taariq Stephens turned himself into the police two days after the shooting and was convicted last month on charges of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. Yesterday, a Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice sentenced him to 41 years in state prison.

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