A 15-year-old New York girl was sentenced Tuesday to 3 to 9 years for the stabbing death of a rival cheerleader last spring.
Kayla Green, sophomore captain of the Mount Vernon junior varsity cheerleading squad, was killed in April 2022 in a brawl that broke out during a parade celebrating the state championship won by the school’s boys’ basketball team, lohud.com reports.
The defendant, a member of an independent cheer squad that Green had once belonged to, was indicted on a charge of first-degree manslaughter and pleaded guilty in December.
Judge Susan Cacace said in court on Tuesday the attack on Green stemmed from “a long-standing rivalry between two cheerleading squads in the city of Mount Vernon,” according to WCBS.
Prosecutor James Bavero said the attack “was an intentional, senseless and vicious intentional crime, which has caused immeasurable pain.”
The 15-year-old tearfully read a statement accepting responsibility for her actions and apologizing, lohud reported.
“I am sorry my actions took away a big sister. I am sorry my actions took away a daughter,” the girl said.
“I think of all the different choices I could have made that day that would have left Kayla alive and saved her family this heartache,” she said. “But that is why everyone is here today, because I made bad choices.”
As a juvenile, the maximum sentence she could have received was 3 to 10 years, the district attorney’s office said. Cacace didn’t spell out why she knocked a year off the maximum but noted that the defendant, who had a history of violent conduct, is “thriving in detention, perhaps on a path to make something of her life.”
Green’s family, however, was not satisfied with either the sentence or the girl’s apology.
“Justice did not occur today. Mockery did,” Green’s mother, Lavern Gordon, said in court. “My family is broken and our heart will never mend from this loss of my daughter.”
“Her killer gets to get out in three years to live her life, to have family, to have a career. My daughter will never see that,” said Gordon, who had pushed for murder charges instead of manslaughter charges for the 15-year-old, according to WCBS.
Still, the defendant’s attorney, Michael Borrelli, said he hoped that “the healing process can begin for the victim’s family and for the community, most specifically for the city of Mount Vernon.”
In handing down the sentence, Cacace pointed to a hopeful sign, saying the defendant is “thriving in detention, perhaps on a path to make something of her life.”
The district attorney’s office said the teen will be held in a juvenile detention center until she turns 18, when she’ll be transferred to prison.
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[Featured image: Kayla Green/Instagram]