NEW YORK – Two teenagers — one a 14-year-old girl — were charged Tuesday in the shooting death of an aspiring actress who challenged a group of muggers on a Manhattan street.
Rudy Fleming (search), 19, was charged with murder, robbery, attempted robbery and weapons possession, said Assistant District Attorney Robert Hettleman (search). If convicted, he could face up to life in prison and possibly the death penalty, Hettleman said.
The girl was charged with second-degree murder and robbery, prosecutors said. Police said she was brought to the police station by her mother on Monday.
Nicole duFresne (search), 28, her fiance and another couple were leaving a bar in the Lower East Side, a once-gritty section of Manhattan now known for its hip nightspots, early Thursday when they were approached by a group of youths who demanded money, police said.
Witnesses said one of the men grabbed for the other woman's purse and duFresne intervened, asking: "What are you going to do, shoot us?"
Fleming then fired a single shot into her chest, police said.
He and four others were picked up for questioning late Sunday, police said. Two of the four were charged in an attempted robbery the same night but not in duFresne's slaying. The remaining two were considered witnesses, police said.
Police said the 14-year-old girl confessed to police that she was with the group and had taken a cell phone from the stolen purse, according to a criminal complaint provided by the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Police said the murder weapon — a .357-caliber revolver — was found in the home of one of Fleming's relatives.
Fleming's attorney, Dennis Murphy, declined comment. A telephone message left with the girl's lawyer was not immediately returned Tuesday.
DuFresne's Web site describes her as a writer, actor and producer. She was active in several avant-garde theater projects in Manhattan and elsewhere.