Cincinnati girl, 13, guilty of murder for stabbing friend to death during spat over ‘a secret’
CINCINNATI (Enquirer) – A girl who was 13 when she fatally stabbed her friend in the neck during a fight is guilty of murder and felonious assault, a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge ruled Wednesday.
The fight happened April 19, 2021. Both girls were 13 at the time and had been best friends for several years, Judge Kari Bloom said in a five-page written decision.
The teen and Nyaira Givens were heading home from Aiken High School that day on a Metro bus when Nyaira “heard a secret about herself come from another girl,” Bloom said, even though she hadn’t shared the information with that person. Nyaira had told her friend the secret and assumed the friend told others, Bloom said.
Our media partners at the Enquirer are not naming the juvenile defendant, who is now 15.
Wearing dark-colored blazer over a black-and-white plaid dress and white turtleneck, she appeared to tremble in court as Bloom announced her decision. After being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, she could be heard sobbing.
Threats, ‘name calling’ preceded fight
After getting home from school, Nyaira and two of her cousins then went to her friend’s Winton Hills home, “where they recorded themselves yelling, name-calling and threatening to beat up” her friend, whose mother stood in the doorway with her, Bloom said. Eventually Nyaira and her cousins went back to Nyaira’s home.
Later, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Nyaira, her brother and two cousins were out driving and saw her friend “standing outside” on or near the curb, according to the decision.
Nyaira got out of the vehicle and approached her friend, who stabbed Nyaira in the neck and then ran home, Bloom said. One of the friends and the adult cousin drove Nyaira back to her house and called 911. Police and paramedics responded, and Nyaira was rushed to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where she died.
Attorneys for Nyaira’s friend argued that she acted in self-defense − she was outnumbered and was entitled to use force to defend herself. Prosecutors said the teen “hunted” Nyaira with a knife.
According to Bloom’s decision, Nyaira’s brother testified that when Nyaira approached her friend, the friend “put up her fists like she was going to fight.” He said the friend “threw her phone on the ground” and stabbed Nyaira before Nyaira “had the chance to hit her.”
Bloom said there was no evidence the then-13-year-old girl’s specific intent was to kill Nyaira.
“Rather, the evidence (showed) that the girls were going to fight each other,” Bloom said in her decision. In video played during the trial, “it is only clear that the parties involved … wanted to hurt each other.”
One of Nyaira’s cousins testified, according to the decision, that she had fought Nyaira’s friend in the past.
Judge: Fighting ‘unacceptable conflict resolution’ for teen girls
Bloom said both the prosecution and defense “gloss over the fact” that the two girls “were going to physically fight to settle the alleged wrongdoing, which is unacceptable conflict resolution for 13-year-old girls.”
Bloom also said that the teen left her home, in the dark, with a knife, “as if she was preparing for the fight ahead.” Knowingly entering a dangerous situation, Bloom said, meant she couldn’t claim self-defense.
“The court declines to find that children are permitted to arm themselves for preventative self-defense where they anticipate needing to settle a beef,” the judge said.
A disposition hearing, at which Bloom will announce how long the teen will be held at a youth detention facility, is set for Nov. 7 in juvenile court. The maximum she faces is being detained until she is 21, officials said.
‘It still haunts me’
After the hearing, which was held at the county Youth Center in Mount Auburn, Nyaira’s father, Maurice Jackson, said he will never be the same because of his daughter’s violent death.
“I still have to walk past where she (was stabbed),” he said. “I still have these memories, these pictures in my head … It still haunts me.”
Nyaira’s younger siblings and cousins “are still looking for her,” said Nyaira’s cousin, Missy Redd. Nyaira had six siblings, five of whom were younger than her.
“It’s not fair,” she said. “My little cousin is not coming back home.”
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