7 held in brawl that left Long Island teen fatally stabbed

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Seven teenagers have been arrested in a fatal attack on a Long Island high school student during an after-school fight.

Prosecutors say the teens were involved in the Sept. 16 brawl in which 16-year-old Oceanside High School student Khaseen Morris was fatally stabbed.

Eighteen-year-old Tyler Flach was indicted earlier this week on a second-degree murder charge in Morris’ killing. Newsday reports that Flach has maintained his innocence and is being held without bail.

Those arrested Friday include 19-year-old Haakim Mechan, 18-year-old Marquis Stephens, 18-year-old Javonte Neals, 17-year-old Taj Woodruff, and 17-year-old Sean Merritt, all of Long Beach. They all pleaded not guilty to second-degree gang assault at their arraignment Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead.

This combination of Sept. 27, 2019 photos provided by the Nassau County Police Department in Oceanside, N.Y., shows five teens arrested in connection with a fatal attack on a Long Island high school student during an after-school fight on Sept. 16, 2019. From left are: Marquis Stephens, Javonte Neals, Sean Merritt, Haakim Mechan, and Taj Woodruff. (Nassau County Police Department via AP)

Two 16-year-olds also were charged with gang assault but were not named by police because of their age. Scott Gross, an attorney for one of the 16-year-olds, said his client “played no role” in the killing.

Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said at a news conference Saturday the fight at a strip mall near Oceanside High School started because Morris was with the ex-girlfriend of one of the suspects.

Fitzpatrick said the suspects all took part in the attack on Morris. “Each one of them had an active role,” he said. “They came with the intention to seriously hurt him. Khaseen got killed as a result.”

The funeral for Morris, who would have turned 17 next month, was being held Saturday in Oceanside.

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