The 15-year-old Mount Vernon girl who fatally stabbed rival cheerleader Kayla Green last year apologized in court Tuesday and said she wishes she could do more than just apologize.
“I’m sorry that my actions took away my older sister. I regret that I took away my daughter because of my actions,” the accused said in prepared statements just before the sentencing.
“I think about all the different decisions I could have made that day that would have kept Kayla alive and saved her family this pain. But the reason everyone is here today is because I made a bad choice.”
Westchester County District Judge Susan Cacace imposed the 3- to 9-year prison sentence she had promised when the girl pleaded guilty to manslaughter last month. He will be served in a state juvenile prison. The sentence was just short of the maximum 3 1/3 to 10 years for a juvenile offender.
But the judge refused to grant her juvenile offender status, citing not only the murder but also a history of violent behavior and truancy. Cacace said the killing represented a “general failure.”
“This death could have been avoided,” she said. “It is a travesty that this young girl lost her life in an unnecessary and violent attack.”
Journal News/lohud did not identify the defendant because of her age.
Green’s relatives called both the sentence and the defendant’s apology inadequate. They lamented that she would be released from custody in relatively short order to be with her family when they could only be with Green at the cemetery.
“Justice did not come today. Mockery did,” Green’s mother, Lavern Gordon, said in court. “My family is broken and our hearts will never recover from this loss of my daughter.”
Green and defendant were members of the Supreme All Stars, an independent cheerleading team, before Green became a Mount Vernon High School cheerleader. She was captain of the junior varsity team.
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On April 8, the city held a parade and town hall ceremony to honor the boys varsity basketball team for its undefeated season. Shortly after the ceremony, two blocks away, a scuffle broke out as officers tried but failed to stop the fight. At least two cell phone videos captured what happened.
Green and her friend Mainece Simpson were in a car on East Prospect Avenue near Gramatan Avenue. When the 15-year-old opened the back door, Simpson got out and was attacked by several girls. The defendant was pushed aside by the policeman, but she quickly returned to the conflict with a knife in her hand.
She stabbed Simpson twice, who was also hit with a bat by someone else.
Green then got out of the car from the other side and joined the crowd. She was pushed aside at first, but tried to jump back up before the other girl hit her twice in the head. The 15-year-old then stabbed Green in the back, pulled her shirt up and stuck it under her.
Officers took Green to the hospital, where she died. The defendant ran away and got rid of the knife. She was arrested that night in Dobbs Ferry.
She posted footage of herself brandishing a knife on social media, and Assistant District Attorney James Bavero said she was “determined” to attack Green that day. He called the killing “deliberate, senseless and cruel.”
“She took the opportunity when she was there to stab Kayla Green when she was vulnerable and her back was turned to the defendant,” Bavero said.
Relatives of the victims were upset last year when a grand jury did not indict the teenager for murder and attempted murder.
They cited videos of the defendant dancing with a knife and stabbing Green in the back as well as a pattern of abuse.