NEW YORK — A New York man has been convicted of second degree murder after he allegedly admitted to killing his teenage girlfriend because she told him that she was pregnant and refused his demand to abort.
Christian Ferdinand, 22, was found guilty on Monday after a jury took only an hour to deliberate the case.
According to reports, Ferdinand had met Shaniesha Forbes, 14, on Facebook in 2012 and the two hooked up. In a text message some time later, Forbes told Ferdinand that she was pregnant with his child, but said that she could not obtain an abortion because her mother is “religious.”
“[A]re you serious?” he texted back, according to court records. “Kill that [expletive].”
In January 2013, Ferdinand and Forbes spent time together at his cousin’s house, and as they sat on the sofa together, Ferdinand snapped as Forbes continued to speak about her alleged pregnancy and insisted to keep the baby. He held a leather pillow over her face until she stopped breathing.
Prosecutors state that Ferdinand then placed the teen’s body in a suitcase and took it to Gerritson Beach in Brooklyn two days later, where he set the teen on fire and tossed the suitcase into the water. But the suitcase washed up on shore days later.
“He intentionally smothered a 14-year-old girl to death and burned her body to get rid of the evidence,” prosecutor Robert Walsh told jurors on Monday. “He had a problem that needed solving. He didn’t want to pay child support, and Shaniesha got in the way.”
Ferdinand was taken into custody months later in Maine, where he initially denied any involvement in her death. He later confessed, according to court records. Investigators asked Ferdinand if Forbes tried to fight him when he attempted to smother her .
“She tried,” he replied. “[It] wasn’t much of a struggle; she was little.”
“Do you think I can get some kind of community service?” Ferdinand also asked.
But the 22-year-old dropped his head on Monday when the verdict was read aloud in the courtroom, which means that Ferdinand could face up to 25 years behind bars. In addition to second degree murder, he was found guilty of tampering with evidence.
District Attorney Ken Thompson said that he will seek the maximum penalty.
“The defendant brutally took the life of a 14-year-old girl all because he believed that she was pregnant,” he told reporters. “We will now seek the maximum at sentencing to ensure that we get justice for the victim.”
Ironically, a medical examiner has declared that Forbes had not been pregnant after all.
“Young girls should be careful who they hook up with on the Internet,” one of the jurors told New York Daily News this week. “But he should not have done what he did.”
Ferdinand will be sentenced on Jan. 7th.