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Report: Prosecutors Look To Try Teen As Adult In Yonkers Fatal Stabbing

Michael Pettiford, 16.
Michael Pettiford, 16. Photo Credit: Yonkers Police Department

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Prosecutors are reportedly looking to try Michael Pettiford, the 16-year-old who has been charged with murder following a fatal movie theater stabbing, as an adult, according to a News12 report .

Should 16-year-old Michael Pettiford be charged as an adult?
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Pettiford was indicted on murder, manslaughter, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon charges on Monday after he allegedly stabbed another teenager following a fight over a cell phone at the Ridge Hill Movie Theater on Fitzgerald Street in Yonkers.

After pleading not guilty in court, prosecutors are attempting to charge the teenager as an adult, according to a News12 report .

Police were dispatched to the movie theater at approximately 12:45 a.m. on April 15 after there were reports of a fight that ended when someone was stabbed at the conclusion of a movie.

Upon arrival, police located 19-year-old Yonkers resident Daij Asante Thomas, who had suffered a stab wound to his chest, police said.

Scarpino said that Pettiford allegedly questioned Thomas, attempting to start a fight, which Thomas declined to accpet. At that point, he allegedly grabbed Thomas' cell phone from his hand, prompting him to chase Pettiford, a struggle ensued and Thomas was stabbed in the chest.

Pettiford allegedly then placed Thomas' cell phone in his pocket and exited the movie theater, Scarpino said, as Thomas "collapsed to the floor indicating he could not breathe." Arriving paramedics attempted to save his life, but Thomas was later pronounced dead at a local hospital following treatment.

Two knives were recovered at the scene of the alleged stabbing.

Detectives with the Major Case Squad and Crime Scene Units conducted an extensive investigation, which determined that Pettiford was a person of interest. Police arrested Pettiford on days later, charging him with one count of second-degree murder.

Pettiford has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He remains remanded to the Westchester County Jail. He is due back in court next month, where he will face life in state prison.

“This arrest following this tragedy is another example why we have the finest Police Department in the country,” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said at the time of his arrest. “Thank you to Commissioner (Charles) Gardner and the detectives assigned to this case for all their attention to detail and hard work.”

At the time, Garnder added that he “would like to warn those who choose to commit violent crime in his city that (police) will leave no stone unturned and will use all of their resources to hunt them down and hold (criminals) accountable for their actions.”

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