Teen in Zoo stabbing gets 6 years, 10 months

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A District Superior Court judge on Tuesday sentenced a 16-year-old to spend the rest of his childhood behind bars for stabbing a fellow teen six times during an Easter Monday event at the National Zoo.

Mshairi Alkebular will serve a total of six years and 10 months consecutively for felony charges of carrying and assault with a deadly weapon.

Alkebular pleaded guilty in June. He originally was charged with intent to kill while armed.

The teen did not speak in court, but his attorney, James Rudasill, said the stabbing was the result of “too much youthful testosterone among alpha males trying to dominate an area.” The attack started at about 4 p.m. during this year’s Easter Monday event near the small-mammal house as zoo officials tried to close the gates because of a capacity crowd.

Police said Alkebular pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed another teen twice in the arm. The attack resumed outside the gates, on Connecticut Avenue Northwest, a short time later, when Alkebular stabbed the youth four times in the chest.

In 2000, a 16-year-old boy opened fire and injured seven children during the same event at the zoo, held for black families for more than 100 years.

The prosecution argued that the attack was fueled by mutual hatred between rival neighborhoods and that the victim was still suffering from a broken jaw, had to change schools, and his family was looking to move out of the community.

Mr. Rudasill acknowledged that the attack was “a black eye on the African American culture” but argued that sending his client to prison for several years would only make him more bitter.

“I was appalled when I heard about the event,” he said.

Superior Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. called the attack “a really vicious offense,” adding that he took Alkebular’s age into consideration when determining his sentence.

Judge Dixon said the sentence will be served under the District’s youth rehabilitation act of 2004, which allows offenders younger than 22 who have been charged as adults to have their conviction “set aside.”

He also ordered Alkebular to pay $900. The youth also must get educational and life-skills counseling as well as substance-abuse and psychological counseling.

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