MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The man accused of killing a 13-year-old rising basketball star in Mount Vernon was arraigned Friday on murder and other charges.
David Hardy, 21, was indicted on second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon charges in the fatal shooting of Shamoya McKenzie, the Westchester County District Attorney said.
Hardy slowly walked into court, limping with a cane. McKenzie’s family was not in court, the prosecutor telling the judge that it was too emotional for them to be there, CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported.
Hardy’s attorney, Devereaux Cannick, said his client is upset.
“Like any young man is, of course, sad, shocked that he’s being the person accused here,” he said. “And is certainly troubled by it and by things he’s read in the papers.”
The defense attorney also asked the judge to not allow cameras inside the courtroom because he feels coverage of the story hasn’t been balanced and that public officials have made statements convicting his client, Medgie reported. The request was denied.
Hardy pleaded not guilty and is due back in court in May. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
Authorities said McKenzie was sitting in the passenger seat of her mom’s car on her way home from basketball practice on New Year’s Eve when Hardy opened fire at a rival gang member along East Third Street.
One of the bullets went through the rear passenger window, striking the teen in the head, police said. The other man Hardy was aiming for was also hit, according to authorities.
After the shooting, investigators said Hardy fled Mount Vernon and headed south, triggering a multi-state manhunt, but then returned to Mount Vernon shortly before he was arrested in January.
McKenzie was an eighth grade basketball star at Graham Elementary School and was already playing on the JV team at Mount Vernon High School with dreams of playing basketball at the University of Connecticut and then the WNBA.
At the time of the shooting, the Mount Vernon Lady Knights basketball team described McKenzie as a “beautiful, intelligent young lady who brightened the room with her smile.”
On Thursday, New York Liberty all-star center Tina Charles announced that the Liberty was making McKenzie the 37th pick of the 2017 WNBA draft.
“It is important for the New York Liberty to continue to show up for Shamoya McKenzie, a young woman who was killed in a senseless act of violence,” New York Liberty President Isiah Thomas said in a statement on the team’s website, saying they are “honored we were able to make her dream come true by selecting her as a member of our team.”