3 of 5 Clio teens accused in deadly rock throwing case released from jail
A Michigan Court of Appeals decision allowed the charges to be dropped. The Genesee County Prosecutor is expected to reissue them next week, charging these 3 and one other as juveniles.
GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - (5/28/2021) They spent the last three and a half years behind bars, accused of throwing rocks onto I-75 and killing a Mt. Morris man.
Friday morning, three of the five Clio teenagers charged with Kenneth White’s death were released.
18-year-old Trevor Gray, 19-year-old Mark Sekelsky and 19-year-old Mikadyn Payne walked out of the Genesee County Jail to their families.
Before his release, Payne spoke with ABC12′s Ann Pierret about his time behind bars. It was the first time one of the five charged spoke up.
“There was never an intention to hurt anybody, period. That was never an intention, that was never talked about, that was never even thought about,” Payne said. " So I just wanted to express that the most. And, I truly am sorry for my participation in this situation.”
Payne is now 19-years-old. He had just turned 15 when he and four other friends threw rocks over the Dodge Road overpass onto I-75 on the night of October 18, 2017.
One of those rocks smashed through the window of the work van 32-year-old Kenneth White was riding in, killing him.
“I’ve often thought, you know, what if that was my dad in this situation, how would I feel? And what would I want to happen to the people that were involved? So all of their emotions are completely understandable. And again, I could only imagine how they’re feeling,” Payne added.
Payne explained he’s had a lot of time to reflect and think about his actions, admitting to ABC12 what he did that night was wrong.
Friday, his attorney Mike Manley walked him out of the Genesee County Jail to his family.
Payne’s charges are officially dismissed. It’s the result of a Michigan Court of Appeals decision.
Manley went to that court, after a Genesee County Judge refused to sentence his client as a juvenile.
Manley and attorneys for the three other young defendants argued a juvenile detention center would rehabilitate the teenagers much better than a prison
Now Manley’s saying Genesee County’s I.G.N.I.T.E. program at the jail did just that.
“Mikadyn was able to get his GED, he was able to take algebra classes, finance classes, and he’s going to be a productive member of our community, because of the evolution of law enforcement, with Sheriff Swanson and his staff,” Manley said.
“You definitely learn to think ahead. And because I’m in here for not thinking ahead, that’s probably why I’m so for it now -- thinking ahead,” Payne added.
Kenneth White’s family told ABC12 while they were aware of the decision, they were not aware the boys would be released Friday. It’s been 3 years and 7 months since his son’s death.
“It’s hard every day, every day. He was my best friend. And I try to move forward and it affects my life, it affects my relationship, it affects everything,” Kenneth White’s Dad, Kenneth White said.
They weren’t only best friends, the father and son also share the same name.
“Even when they were locked up in jail, they got to see ‘em, they got to talk to ‘em, they took that away from us,” White added.
White wanted 10 years for each of the five charged with killing his son.
In January, the oldest -- accused of throwing the deadly rock -- was released from prison. Kyle Anger served 39 months for second degree murder.
19-year-old Alexzander Miller bonded out last summer and has been on a GPS tether since.
With the Judge’s signature this morning, the adult charges against Miller, Payne, Gray and Sekelsky are dropped.
“We just got to go with it and deal with it, you know, we’re not happy about it. But we can’t change it,” White said.
The Genesee County Prosecutor is expected to re-issue the charges in juvenile court next week.
It’s not clear if the four will have to serve any more time. White was okay with a juvenile sentence and is still hoping they’ll serve time in a detention center until they each turn 21-years-old.
On top of that, he believes they should be providing financial support to his son’s child.
“You should have to send my grandson money every week to support him. That’s just the way I feel,” White explained. “That would be a good thing because then every week when they write that check, they would think about that, what they did.”
White added his grandson is now 9-years-old and looks just like his father, which is tough.
When asked if he believes in second chances, White said yes but only after the right amount of time is served.
Taking a look at the comments ABC12 viewers have made about the developments in this case, it’s clear many aren’t happy with this step.
So, ABC12 asked the Genesee County Sheriff why these four teenagers deserve a second chance.
“Where they go from here, he’s got to prove it,” Sheriff Chris Swanson said. “Words whisper, actions scream, that’s why people have a trust in me. And I understand the pain. I’m not here about the case and the tragedy. Everybody lost on this one -- something; but I know when they leave here, they’re better prepared than if we didn’t have I.G.N.I.T.E.”
Again, Payne’s defense attorney believes they’ve served enough time. So, we asked the Prosecutor if he agreed with that.
Leyton said he’s “undecided,” but a Family Court Judge will also weigh in on that decision.
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