Police: Teenager uses final breaths to identify her alleged killer

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NEW YORK – A New York City teenager used her final breaths to identify the man who killed her after she refused to date him, according to police.

In May of 2016, police say 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin at her Brooklyn apartment when someone came into the apartment and shot her several times.

According to NBC New York, neighbors reportedly heard the 3-year-old child screaming and banged on the door. When no one answered, they called police.

Police say that they found the victim's cousin crying and covered in blood when they arrived at the scene.

Officers say that Mercurius was semi-conscious in the apartment and say she was able to identify Taariq Stephens, now 25, as her killer.

According to WPIX, she told them that Stephens had wanted to date her but she wasn't interested.

After police released surveillance footage of the killer in the elevator of the apartment building, Stephens turned himself in.

Investigators say Stephens used a 40-caliber submachine gun in the murder.

Stephens has been charged with second-degree murder and weapons possession charges in the case. He has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.


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