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Defendants in fatal Oceanside assault appear in court

Kedeemah Morris, left, and Keyanna Morris leave Nassau

Kedeemah Morris, left, and Keyanna Morris leave Nassau County Court in Mineola on Monday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Five Long Beach teens charged with second-degree gang assault in connection with the Sept. 16 fatal stabbing of an Oceanside High School student made brief appearances with their attorneys in Nassau County Court on Monday.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim ordered the five — Haakim Mechan, 19; Marquis Stephens Jr., 18; Javonte Neals, 18; Taj Woodruff, 17; and Sean Merritt, 17 — to return to court Dec. 4. The five each pleaded not guilty to the charges in September. 

Nassau County prosecutors say the five participated in an after-school brawl at an Oceanside strip mall that resulted in the death of 16-year-old Khaseen Morris. Authorities say Tyler Flach, 19, fatally stabbed Morris during the fight. Two 16-year-olds were also charged as the result of the brawl. 

About a dozen of Morris’ relatives attended Monday’s hearing. 

“It’s going to be a long process but we are here,” said Keyanna Morris, the victim’s sister. “We will be here until the end. We will always fight for Khaseen.” 

Authorities have said Khaseen Morris went to the strip mall knowing that the ex-boyfriend of a girl he was friendly with wanted to confront him. Police have alleged that Flach stabbed Morris in the chest after he and his friends charged at Morris and his friends. A 17-year-old boy also suffered a broken arm and head injury in the fight, according to authorities.

Flach, a Nassau Community College student, has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree gang assault, third-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment last week and has been held without bail since his Sept. 18 arrest. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top charge.

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