Judge denies motion to quash murder charges for juvenile - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Judge denies motion to quash murder charges for juvenile

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(07/20/12) - A Flint murder case is likely the first in Michigan to test state law in light of the Supreme Court striking down mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles.

Juwan Wickware was 16 at the time of pizza delivery man Michael Nettles' shooting death in April of 2010.

Wickware's attorneys want the murder charges against him dropped because Michigan law mandates he be sentenced to life without parole if convicted.

68th District Court Judge Tracy Collier-Nix denied the motion to drop those murder charges.

Collier-Nix says the issue should be addressed at the sentencing stage of the case, at the circuit court level, if there is a conviction.

Mark Clement, one of Wickware's defense attorneys, argued the mandatory sentencing scheme was unconstitutional.

State law would send him to prison, for life without parole, if convicted as charged with murder.

It's still not clear what happens now in cases like this.

A preliminary exam was held following Collier-Nix's ruling.

We heard from one witness, Quatageah Penegar, also charged in the Nettles' murder. 

She, also 16 at the time of the crime, has pleaded guilty to armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Penegar was sentenced seven - 28 years in prison and is supposed to testify against Wickware and two others at trial.

Wickware was bound over to circuit court for trial.

Trials for him, Donqua Williams and Antonio Clark are scheduled to start next week, more than two years after Nettles was murdered.

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