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Convicted killer of hoops star teenager faces sentencing

A basketball court in Queensbridge Houses is decorated with candles in memory of Tayshana Murphy the day of her funeral. (Inset) Tyshawn Brockington (l.) was found guilty in Tayshana's murder and a trial has not been held yet for Robert Cartagena (r.). Insets courtesy Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Manhattan man convicted in the fatal shooting of Queensbridge native Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy is scheduled to be sentenced next week, but the slain teen’s father says there will never be justice even if those responsible for the basketball star’s untimely death are behind bars.

“To balance justice and accountability is really off balance because it was really accountability,” said Tayshana’s father, Taylon Murphy. “That young man had to be held accountable for his actions, but is it really justice with the parents? There is still a loss.”

On June 5, 23-year-old Tyshawn “Ta Ta” Brockington was found guilty of murder, burglary and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He is slated to be sentenced Wednesday, the DA said.

Brockington and 22-year-old Robert Cartagena, both of the Manhattanville Houses in Harlem, were charged with second-degree murder in Tayshana’s death, the Manhattan DA’s office said.

Cartagena’s trial has not yet begun and he is due in court Aug. 1, according to the Queens DA’s office. Terique Collins was also arrested and then acquitted on gun possession and criminal facilitation charges in connection to the case.

“As far as the trial is concerned, I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m ecstatic with it. I just say the person who did what they did was held accountable,” Taylon Murphy said.

Tayshana, an 18-year-old Murry Bergtraum basketball standout, had moved with her family to the Grant Houses from Queensbridge Houses several years before she was gunned down.

She was one of the top-ranked seniors in the country and was getting ready to start the season at Bergtraum after recovering from a torn ACL.

On the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2011, Brockington and Cartagena were spotted allegedly playing with a gun and said they planned to “smoke” somebody from the Grant Houses, according to the criminal complaint.

The pair allegedly chased Tayshana and a group of people to the fourth floor of the Harlem housing project where the basketball star was shot three times, the court document said.

One bullet went into her chest, killing her, authorities said.

Since his daughter’s death, Taylon Murphy has become an activist against violence. He reaches out to other parents whose children have been killed or injured during shootings and serves as the vice president of the group FAITH, which stands for Fathers Alive in the Hood.

“We need more love and compassion to deal with the self-hatred because I think self-hatred brings out all of this destruction,” he said. “We have to deal with getting the young people to strive to understand that they have a purpose and they have a greatness inside of them .… When they understand that they do have a greatness, we won’t have too much of these killings.”

He even sympathizes with the Brockington family.

“My feelings actually go out to the mother of that child as well because just like it was a loss for us, it was definitely a loss for her as well,” he said.

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