"They felt as though they were never going to get out of there alive," attorney Samuel Gregory said.
What actually happened is still unclear, although surveillance video will eventually fill in many of the blanks.
It was Christmas Eve around 8:45 in the evening, 16 year old Cyan Brown and a group of friends left her 5th floor apartment to get something to eat.
Thomas Winston, 29, and his friends were outside of the fast food spot. They crossed paths and, in the end, Brown fatally stabbed Winston once in the heart.
Friends say the aspiring rapper dreamed of landing a record deal.
"He was just trying to get his life together, and at the same time he had a 10 month old daughter," Alex Batisea said.
Officials said the violence began after words were exchanged between the two groups outside the restaurant. Brown and her friends went inside, but the arguing continued and then she left the restaurant.
"She exits the restaurant. He backs up and she ultimately stabs him outside the restaurant," Richard Brown, Queens County District Attorney, said.
She then took off down the subway stairs. Winton's friends ran after her, but she boarded an "F" train and got away. The DA stressed at no time did Winston exhibit deadly physical force and therefore, Brown's claim of self defense does not hold up.
Brown's family left court without commenting. Their attorney said the young girl knew the second that she spotted Winston that night she knew it was trouble.
"Ms. Brown was well aware Thomas Winston has an attempted murder case pending and had shot someone in the neighborhood previously," Gregory said.
He maintains Winston entered the restaurant several times threatening Brown and, at one point, mushing her in the face and pouring beer on her.
"She did everything she could to get him to stop and he wouldn't let it go. He was the initial aggressor and this wouldn't have happened but for them being threatened by Mr. Winston Thomas and the other men there," Gregory said.