Overview of Tiesha Sargeant
How did the girl who could have gone anywhere with her life end up shot dead?
Tiesha Sargeant is described by family and friends as lovely, brilliant, charming, determined, and an overachiever.
Tiesha got accepted into the Prep for Prep program in her middle school years, getting placed into an all-girls private school. Tiesha walked into Brearley determined not to disappoint her family, Prep, or herself. Tiesha was described as the "superstar student" of her time. She was a co-head of the student government, the junior prom princess, second soprano in the chorus, played field hockey, and tutored younger kids-- friends say she was everywhere all at once.
Tiesha did not feel she fit in with the social climate at Brearley and began to shed the Brearley persona when she attended Wesleyan University for college. Tiesha began exploring racial identity politics and much of her academic work was based around her own social archetype idea called the Loud-talking Black Woman, or LBW. Tiesha's professor says, “The LBW was the woman who was not afraid to assert herself, who would risk being put down for not keeping her place, and who would challenge a black man trying to subjugate the black woman to assert his own manhood." Friends of Tiesha admired her pursuits but noted that she always felt torn between her two worlds coming from a white-dominated institution but wanting to break out and fight for social justice.
Events leading up to Tiesha’s murder
After jumping through multiple jobs after college, Tiesha decided to settle down at a job with Conde Nast as a freelance production manager. The flexible hours allowed her to write and finally feeling content with the job, Tiesha started to date more in hopes of finding a partner to marry and have children with.
Tiesha met Keve Huggins at a nightclub one Friday after work in 2005, and after a few months of dating, the two decided to move in together. They move into a second-floor walk-up apartment on Bedford Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, blocks away from where they both grew up. Despite Tiesha’s friends having their reservations about Keve, Tiesha saw herself spending the rest of her life with him and defended his actions, even ones that often put her in danger.
“I think she was in love with him.”
The day of the murder
Keve had been selling marijuana out of the shared apartment for months before Tiesha’s murder, and large sums of cash and guns were left out in the apartment. The afternoon of Tiesha’s murder, Keve had sold $6,000 worth of marijuana out of the apartment.
At around 1:30 am on May 14, 2006, Keve called the police to report that the apartment he and Tiesha were sharing had gotten broken into. Intruders broke into the apartment, bound Tiesha and Keve together, and threw a sheet over Tiesha’s head. Before leaving with $5,000 cash and Keve's cell phone from the apartment, the intruders shoot Tiesha once in the head, killing her.
Investigation into the murder
Amid the investigation, Keve admits to the drug deal that occurred hours before Tiesha’s murder. He is arrested on possession charges but is quickly released on bail shortly after. Police also found a gun around the apartment building, but were unable to prove that the gun came from one of the robbers.
Police ask Keve to take a lie detector test and he agrees but quickly changes his mind and refuses to cooperate with the police.
Tiesha’s case lost media attention after news of the drug deals occurring in the apartment broke, and Keve’s lack of cooperation with the police caused the case to go cold quickly.
Where the case stands today
There have been no leads in Tiesha’s case but police hypothesize that Tiesha was killed by someone who knew there would be money and drugs in the house, likely in a burglary gone wrong.
In 2017, the NYPD cold case squad reopened Tiesha’s case but has yet to release any details in their investigation.