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LONG ISLAND MAN FACES CHARGES IN GIRL'S SLAYING

A Long Island man has been charged with second-degree murder in the June shooting death of a 15-year-old girl who police say was the victim of mistaken identity.

Kenneth Middleton, 23, of Hempstead, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday on two counts of second-degree murder, second-degree assault and third-degree assault. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Police say that on June 21, Middleton spotted a man he thought had once stabbed him sitting on a porch in Freeport with two other people. Middleton allegedly fired several shots from a handgun; one bullet hit Diana Correa, 15, killing her instantly, police said. None of the three sitting on the porch had anything to do with stabbing Middleton in 1999, police added.

Correa, who had moved with her mother to the Miami area last year to escape the violence of her old Freeport neighborhood, had returned to Long Island for the summer to visit her father and friends.

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