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Buffalo man arraigned in rape, murder of girl, 13

A Buffalo man accused of killing a 13-year-old girl last month in his Hagen Street apartment after a late-night party also faces a charge that he raped the teenager before fatally stabbing her.

Darshawn Morris, 21, also known as “Slink,” was indicted on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree rape and second-degree criminal sexual act in the Sept. 1 attack on Lanasha Rollerson, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Wednesday.

Morris pleaded not guilty before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller, who ordered him held without bail at the request of James F. Bargnesi, who heads the district attorney’s Homicide Bureau. Morris had been held on $1 million bail following his arrest Sept. 4, a day after the girl’s body was found.

The judge set March 3 for jury selection.

Police said the victim attended a party Aug. 31, a Saturday night, at 160 Hagen St. The party lasted into the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 1. It was the last time the teenager, an aspiring model, would be seen alive.

Detectives determined that the party ended at about 2 a.m. and that Lanasha died as a result of multiple stab wounds during an attack sometime during the following two hours.

Lanasha had left home on her own, according to investigators. She was seen Saturday night on Poplar Street, about two miles south of where her body was found at 11 p.m. Sept. 3 behind a Newburgh Street garage bordering Morris’ backyard.

Family members were not aware until Sunday afternoon that she had left their home on Proctor Avenue, and they then reported her missing to police, officials said.

Her disappearance prompted her family to blanket the neighborhood and Internet with missing-person fliers in what became a nearly three-day search for Lanasha.

Morris’ arrest, which occurred almost 24 hours after Lanasha’s body was found, resulted from information obtained by police that he had sought treatment at Erie County Medical Center. He was taken into custody after he was discharged.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said Morris confessed to the killing after he was arrested.