A 16-year-old originally charged with aggravated assault has now been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Karim Meskine in New Westminster, B.C.

The accused in the case is expected to appear at a bail hearing Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Crown says that if he is convicted, prosecutors will ask that he be sentenced as an adult.

Meskine, 19, was found Tuesday evening after being badly beaten. He spent his final days in a coma and died Friday after he was taken off life-support.

'His dad right now is looking for work and the son who was trying to help them is dead. They are in really bad shape right now.'— Gilbert Moore, family friend

The incident has shocked the local community.

Friends have set up a memorial fund for the family. So far, more than $20,000 has been raised.

Community members are also stepping in to help, with the Fatimia Community Services Society of BC paying for a burial plot for Meskine.

"When you hear about this kind of thing of the news you think, it's just the news," said Tunde Alatise, who has known Meskine for more than a decade. "When this hits really close to home, you feel the impact on the family."

Gilbert Moore was at Meskine's bedside when he was taken off life-support.

"His dad right now is looking for work and the son who was trying to help them is dead. They are in really bad shape right now," he said.

A fundraising dinner will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. PT Monday night at Wings restaurant on King George Boulevard in Surrey.

A trust fund has been created at TD Canada Trust in Meskine's name to help pay for funeral expenses.

  • Branch number 9028
  • Account number 6083916
  • E-mail bank transfer: karimtrustfund@gmail.com

With files from the CBC's Richard Zussman