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Second teen accused of murder in fatal traffic cone assault on 73-year-old man

A 14-year-old girl will be charged with 3rd-degree murder in the beating of James Lambert in Philadelphia last month, officials said.

A second teenager is accused of murder in the fatal beating of a 73-year-old man with a traffic cone in Philadelphia last month, authorities said Wednesday.

The 14-year-old girl, who has not been identified, surrendered and will be charged with 3rd-degree murder in the killing of James Lambert, a spokesman for Philadelphia County District Attorney Larry Krasner said in an email.

The arrest came one day after a 14-year-old boy was charged with 3rd-degree murder in the June 24 assault, part of which was recorded on security cameras and released by the Philadelphia Police Department last week.

Both teens will be charged as adults, the DA's office spokesman said.

A 73-year-old man died the day after a group of young people beat him with a traffic cone in a caught-on-camera attack along a North Philadelphia street last month.
A 73-year-old man died the day after a group of young people beat him with a traffic cone in a caught-on-camera attack along a North Philadelphia street last month.WCAU

The video showed a large group of what appeared to be teenagers surrounding Lambert and a boy and girl hurling a cone at the man. He fell and died from his injuries the following day, police said in a statement.

It wasn't immediately clear if the boy and girl seen throwing the cone in the video were the same teens in custody.

In a statement, Krasner's office said that no one else had been charged in connection with the crime. The office added that everyone at the prosecutor’s office offered “condolences to Mr. Lambert’s family, friends, and community over his shocking and tragic death.”

Court records show the 14-year-old boy, who was also charged with conspiracy, was scheduled for a preliminary arraignment Tuesday. It wasn't clear if he entered a plea.

The records did not list a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

Lambert was assaulted around 2:40 a.m. after he asked the group of teenagers why they were out so late, NBC Philadelphia reported.

A 13-year-old girl who witnessed the beating was released Wednesday after surrendering to authorities, the station reported.

The teenagers saw Lambert sitting on a bench as they were leaving a park, the girl's lawyer, Donte Mills, said in an email to NBC News.

“A decision was made to joke with him,” Mills said. “The situation escalated pretty quickly.”

Mills told NBC Philadelphia that his client tried to stop the assault and called 911 when he fell. She stayed with him until first responders arrived, Mills said, according to the station.

“I think this is an important moment for us because we can realize that there’s still hope in this city, that there’s still good in this city amongst our youth and there’s those that’s courageous enough to stand up even when all of their friends are doing things that they’re not supposed to do and say, ‘I’m not going to participate in that,’” Mills said, according to the station.

He added: “My hope is that she’s not punished for doing the right thing.”

Lambert's sister, Elsie Stephens, called the beating "evil," telling the station: "You have a mother and a father, how could you just beat a man until you take off half of his skull?"