NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two suspects pleaded not guilty to various charges Tuesday in the death of high school basketball star Tayshana Murphy, who was gunned down in her Harlem apartment building last month.
Tyshawn Brockington and Robert Cartagena, both 21, entered their pleas to second-degree murder and other charges during their arraignment in the death of Murphy, an 18-year-old senior at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers and a nationally ranked basketball player.
Witnesses said Murphy’s Sept. 11 shooting death was linked to a long-running feud between two neighboring housing projects.
According to prosecutors, Brockington and Cartagena were overheard saying that they were going to “smoke” somebody from the Grant Houses, where Murphy lived.
Prosecutors said Murphy ran into her building when she saw them approaching and was shot three times.
Brockington and Cartagena fled to South Carolina and were arrested there.
The courtroom in Manhattan state Supreme Court was packed for Tuesday’s arraignment, with many of Murphy’s friends wearing her picture around their necks.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said afterward, “This senseless death is an example of what guns have taken from our communities. The Harlem community has tragically lost a young woman and promising athlete.”
Brockingon’s lawyer, Daniel Parker, said his next step will be to review the evidence including security videos.
Cartagena’s lawyer, Daniel Gotlin, said his client “says he didn’t do this and he intends to fight the case.”
Brockington and Cartagena are being held without bail and are due back in court Dec. 20.
A third defendant, 24-year-old Terique Collins, has been charged with providing the gun to Brockington and Cartagena and has pleaded not guilty. He was not in court Tuesday.
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