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Harlem Basketball Star Tayshana Murphy's Accused Killers Indicted

By DNAinfo Staff on October 6, 2011 6:49am  | Updated on October 6, 2011 7:19am

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Two Harlem men have been indicted on murder charges after they allegedly murdered an 18-year-old basketball star who pleaded for her life as they cornered her in her apartment building's stairwell,  prosecutors said Wednesday night.

Prosecutors said the duo chased Murry Bergtraum High School senior Tyshana "Chicken" Murphy as she walked through a housing complex with a group of people at about 3:45 a.m. on Sept. 11.

"I am not with them," Murphy yelled as she tried to duck into 3170 Broadway, away from Tyshawn Brockington, 21, and Robert Cartagena, 20, according to the criminal complaint.

"I don't give a f**k," one of the accused shooters allegedly said before pumping three rounds into the promising young athlete, who prosecutors said was killed by a shot to the left chest.

One of the men was allegedly overheard saying he planned to "smoke" someone from the Grant Houses, where Murphy lived with her family. Prosecutors have not said if one or both of them pulled a trigger.

Police and residents believed the violence may have been a result of a standing rivalry between youths at Grant and the Manhattanville housing projects, which are situated within blocks of each other near 125th Street in Harlem. 

Brockington and Cartagena fled the city and were apprehended in South Carolina on September 21, but did not appear in a Manhattan courtroom until Wednesday night when they were assigned attorneys and ordered held without bail.

Surveillance video shows Brockington and Cartagena at the crime scene armed with guns in their waistbands, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said after the murder.

Hundreds of mourners attended Murphy's funeral in Astoria on September 17. She was considered one of the city's top female high school point guards and was working towards playing on the collegiate and professional levels.

Brockington and Cartagena are next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 18.