9-Year-Old Girl Accused of Killing Playmate

A 9-year-old girl fatally stabbed an 11-year-old girl in the chest with a steak knife during a fight over a ball, authorities said.

The 9-year-old, a fourth-grader whose name wasn't released, was charged with manslaughter.

Police spokesman Paul J. Browne told The New York Times that he was "unaware of anyone younger implicated in such an act in New York City."

The victim, Queen Washington, 11, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Family members said the fifth-grader was a straight-A student who loved books, dancing and playing double Dutch jump rope.

"I don't understand how this could happen," Joyce Porter, Queen's grandmother, told the Times. She said Queen's mother had called her earlier that afternoon. "She told me, 'Queen is dead,"' Porter said, adding, "It was over a ball."

Queen's grandfather Earl Washington described her as the "star of the family. She was going places."

Relatives said the girls' mothers were best friends, and Queen had been invited to the 9-year-old's home in the East New York section of Brooklyn for a Memorial Day barbecue.

The girls had been playing together, but the 9-year-old's mother had stepped out to borrow something from a neighbor, police said.

By the time the mother returned, the 9-year-old had plunged the knife into Queen's chest, police said. Queen stumbled into the hallway and collapsed.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office said the case would go to family court because the girl is younger than 14.

Neighbors said the 9-year-old was a troubled child.

"She was a little thug," neighbor Diva McPhatter told the Daily News. "I always asked her to behave, but she was rude. She fought all the time. She was out of control. I'd confront her, but she'd just roll her eyes."

In 2001, Lionel Tate (search), 14, became the youngest person in modern U.S. history to be sentenced to life in prison, after being convicted of killing 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick (search) in Florida. He was 12 at the time of the killing in 1999.

He won a new trial on appeal and went free in January 2004 under a deal that placed him under house arrest for a year followed by probation for 10 years. Now 18, he was arrested May 23 on charges of holding up a pizza delivery man at gunpoint.