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Man gets 41 years for killing babysitter with submachine gun
A Brooklyn judge laid into a man convicted of fatally shooting a 16-year-old babysitter with a submachine gun, saying she saw no reason to show him mercy before sentencing him to 41 years behind bars Tuesday.
Convicted killer Taariq Stephens — who was named as the shooter by his victim, Shemel Mercurius, with her dying breath — had just finished whining that he didn’t kill the teen when Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling cut him off.
“All the evidence indicated that it is you,” Dowling snapped. “When you take a life, what do you give in exchange for life? There is nothing to give in return for a life.”
“I am not showing any mercy,” the judge said, adding that Stephens had shown none when he pushed his way into the East Flatbush apartment where Mercurius was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin Josiah and racked the gun three times before firing a single shot through her arm and into her abdomen.
The 16-year-old’s aunt and Josiah’s mother, LaToya Mercurius-Price, said Stephens, 26, had crippled their entire family with the May 2016 shooting.
“The echoes of ‘Mommy, mommy, Shemel has been shot and Josiah is covered in blood’ pierced me with the anguish, pain, hurt, panic, confusion, grief and left me emotionally paralyzed and hyperventilating,” she told the court. “The loss of our precious gem is beyond words.”
The motive for the heinous crime was never clear.
“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, and for undoubtedly traumatizing the toddler she was babysitting,” Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “Nothing can bring Shemel back to her devastated family.”