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Prosecutor ‘very concerned’ about younger trend of Genesee County criminals

The Genesee County Prosecutor charged two teenage boys with first degree premeditated murder, just this week.
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 7:42 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/2/2020) - More and more young people are facing charges, accused of committing violent crimes in Genesee County.

It’s a trend the Prosecutor said he’s been noticing over the last year.

“I’m very concerned about the tracking that I’ve seen of violent crimes in Genesee County; and frankly, throughout the state of Michigan, trending younger,” Prosecutor David Leyton said. “We’re having younger and younger perpetrators all the time.”

The most recent example is from this week. Leyton charged a 16 and 17-year-old with five felonies each, including 1st degree premeditated murder.

“There is no more serious accusation in the law, than premeditated first degree murder,” he said.

The two teenage boys, both from Flint, are charged with Monday’s murder on Barrie Street in the City. It happened around 2:30 that afternoon

Leyton said the pair killed the 18-year-old man and critically injured his 17-year-old girlfriend. She was shot in the chest, but is expected to survive.

“Basically, they showed up at our house, the homeowner answered the door and one of the two men shot him,” Leyton explained. “Then, they went into the bedroom and shot a woman companion who was also in the home.”

He believes they connected with the couple for what he called a business transaction, but showed up with the intention of killing them.

Leyton charged both of them as adults, but they have not yet been arraigned.

“Far too often over the last 12 months, I’ve been asked to charge juveniles as adults. I don’t like doing it,” Leyton said. “I’m cognizant of the fact that Miller v. Alabama says their brains aren’t fully developed. But, there are those crimes that are so heinous that I think really shock the conscience of the community and for which I feel I have to charge them as adults. This is one of those crimes. But remember, they’re innocent until proven guilty.”

So what can be done?

The Prosecutor said young people need more opportunities, better resources, something productive to do with their time

“When you have choices of survival, sometimes you take the wrong road, you take the road of less productivity,” Leyton said. “We’ve got to get back out ahead of the speeding train of crime and you do it through education, through good family values, you do it through the churches.”

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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