updated 10/8/2005 1:01:49 AM ET 2005-10-08T05:01:49

A 9-year-old girl pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter Friday, admitting she fatally stabbed her 11-year-old playmate after a tug-of-war over a rubber ball went sour.

The girl, identified by the city only as Shanice K., admitted she stabbed Queens Washington once in the chest at a Memorial Day gathering in Brooklyn, the city said in a statement after the proceeding.

Judge Jane Pearl ordered that Shanice remain in a non-secure setting pending sentencing. She also ordered an investigation into the child’s background.

“We are confident this is an appropriate resolution of this tragic matter,” said Assistant Corporation Counsel Suzette Rivera. “The plea takes into account the great harm caused by the respondent and holds her accountable” for the slaying.

Shanice was accompanied by her mother and defense attorney Nicole Barnum in Brooklyn Family Court, the city said.

Shanice and the victim were described as close friends. The girls’ mothers were best friends as well when Queen was invited to Shanice’s home for a Memorial Day barbecue.

Police said the death occurred when Shanice’s mother had stepped out of her apartment to borrow something from a neighbor.

She returned to find that her daughter had plunged a steak knife into Queen’s chest, police said. Queen stumbled into a hallway and collapsed.

Police, who could not recall a younger suspect being arrested for a killing in the city, said Shanice confessed shortly after the stabbing.

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