Murder charge dropped against suspect in fatal shooting of 15-year-old boy on Queens subway train – New York Daily News

Murder charges have been dropped against a teenage suspect in the shocking shooting death of a 15-year-old boy on a Queens subway.
Keyondre Russell, 18, will instead face weapon possession, evidence tampering and menacing charges in the Oct. 14 killing of Jayjon Burnett, the Queens D.A.’s office confirmed Sunday.
A grand jury failed to indict Russell on the murder charge initially brought by cops and prosecutors. The suspect remains held without bail on Rikers Island and is due back in court Nov. 3.
Keyondre Russell is escorted from the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)
In New York state, a grand jury consisting of 16 to 23 people meets in secret to weigh evidence presented by prosecutors and determine whether to go forward with charges against a suspect.
A spokeswoman with Queens D.A. Melinda Katz’s office said Sunday that the remaining weapons charge against Russel carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.
The victim’s father Jeffrey Burnett declined to comment on the development on Sunday.
“Straight-A student and a good kid,” he told the Daily News. “I’m very upset and I don’t want to talk right now. I’m just putting my son in the ground.”
Jayjon was shot during a wild melee between two groups of teens on a Far Rockaway A Train and prosecutors and cops identified Russell as his shooter, charging him with murder and weapon possession.
At his Queens Criminal Court arraignment last week, Russell’s defense lawyer suggested someone else fired the fatal shot, saying the bullet struck Russell too, passing through his upper left leg before hitting Jayjon in the chest.
Keyondre Russell is escorted from the 101st Precinct stationhouse in Far Rockaway on Oct. 15. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)
On Sunday, his lawyer, the Legal Aid Society’s Peter St. George Davis, said that cellphone video of the shooting bolsters that account and shows a young man, not Russell, stretched out his hand before the fatal shot.
“You can see a young man who’s standing up with his hand outstretched and it almost appear to be recoil,” he said, adding, “I think that they should be looking for somebody, and the person that they should be looking at is the person with his hand outstretched.”
An NYPD spokesman said Sunday that the shooting remained under investigation.
Police investigate the fatal shooting at the Mott Ave. subway station in Far Rockaway, Queens, on October 14. (Gardiner Anderson/for New York Daily News)
Police sources initially said that Russell was one of two men who boarded the train at the Beach 25th St. station when one member of the groups called for backup.
Davis said Russell was only standing up for his girlfriend, who was fighting with another girl on the train, and that he didn’t call for reinforcements.
Jayjon Burnett (Channel View School for Research)
“I understand that somebody has lost their life here. A young man is gone. So I understand the family’s sentiment of loving a loved one,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that Mr. Russell was cornered in a car in a subway while being attacked by multiple parties.”
Russell has no criminal record, his lawyer said.
The victim’s dad told the Daily News the day after the slaying he was mystified why anyone would want his son dead.
“I never had no problems with him being in the street,” Jeff Burnett told the Daily News. “He wasn’t no bad kid. He wasn’t around no guns … It always happens to the good kids.”
With Anna Gratzer
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News

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