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Cheerleader charged in actress slay

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While Ashley Evans of 130-08 160th St. did not actually fire the bullet that killed 28-year-old Nicole duFresne Jan. 27, she was accused of being present at the crime with a group of friends and later hiding the gun for the suspected triggerman, police said. Evans, a senior at Jamaica's August Martin High School, was arrested Feb. 2 and pleaded not guilty during her arraignment in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on charges of murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney said. She returns to court Feb. 17 and could face up to life in prison if convicted.DuFresne, her fiance and two of the couple's friends were leaving a bar when they were approached by a group of seven teenagers who were caught on videotape, police said. Upon questioning by detectives, Evans admitted she was part of the group, according to a criminal complaint filed with the Manhattan DA's office. Evans said one of her fellow defendants, identified by police as 19-year-old Rudy Fleming of Staten Island, demanded money from the quartet, pistol-whipped duFresne's fiance, grabbed one of the women's purses and fatally shot duFresne, according to the complaint. Fleming allegedly killed duFresne after she said, "What are you going to do, shoot us?" police said.In a videotaped statement Evans said she looked through the purse for money, then took the gun from the shooter when it was handed to her, the criminal complaint said. Police said she stashed it in an apartment in Manhattan's Baruch Houses, where the relative of one of the teens lived. The seven were picked up by officers, with all but two charged in the murder or in a robbery earlier that day, police said.Earlier, Evans' mother expressed to reporters her condolences for duFresne's family and said her daughter was a typical teenager, prone to peer pressure, news reports said. Police said the 18-year-old had no prior arrest record.After duFresne's death, Evans went to her father's house in Maryland, where police later arrested her. Years earlier, Evan's father, a former officer in South Jamaica's 113th Precinct, had divorced her mother, and the girl did not take the breakup well, news reports said. Recently, she had fought with her mother and possibly moved out, police said.In a jailhouse interview with The New York Post, Evans said Fleming, the accused shooter, had said he wanted to marry the 18-year-old and had given her a promise ring on her birthday. She apologized to duFresne's family.Evans's lawyer, Michael Dreishpoon, would not comment on his client's relationship with Fleming, but confirmed she was a member of the cheerleading squad at school. He had not yet seen the videotaped statement, but said "it's fair to say my client didn't intend for this to happen. She's quite upset and would like to apologize to the family of the victim."Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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