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Justice for slain Jax. Hts. teen

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A 21-year-old Springfield Gardens man was sentenced last week to 24 years in state prison for fatally shooting his teenage girlfriend during a dispute inside her Jackson Heights apartment building in April 2007, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Shane Tomlinson pleaded guilty last month to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Chameka Miller, the Queens district attorney's office said. He has been held without bail since being arrested on May 1, 2007.

"The victim, a young and talented college co-ed, had her life taken away by the defendant during a deadly verbal argument that ended in mindless gunfire," Brown said in a prepared statement.

Miller was a freshman majoring in business administration at York College. Authorities said she was on the dean's list with a 3.3 GPA.

Shortly after 6 p.m. on April 15, 2007, Tomlinson shot Miller in the left cheek with a .45-caliber pistol while inside the stairwell of her residence at 33-24 77th St., the DA said. Afterward, Tomlinson threw the illegal handgun in a garbage can on Queens Boulevard, authorities said.

The victim apparently had tried to break up with Tomlinson prior to the incident, Brown said.

Police said Miller, who lived in the building with her brother and mother, was already dead when they arrived at the scene.

A man who lived on the sixth floor of the building said that on the night of the shooting, Miller and Tomlinson had been "on and off" for some time, but the relationship had soured.

Miller's relatives said she had deleted her former boyfriend from her MySpace page in the days before her death.

Police said Miller had never sought a restraining order against her former boyfriend.

An officer at the scene said Miller's family was spread throughout the two buildings on the block.

Alex Christodoulides contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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