FLINT (WJRT) (3/14/2019) - A judge heard testimony Thursday to decide whether the fourth of five suspects in the deadly October 2017 rock throwing case on I-75 should be sentenced as a juvenile or adult.
Alexzander Miller pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter with the four other juvenile suspects in August. Part of the agreement included a juvenile sentence, but Judge Joseph Farah said that can't occur without hearings.
He could change his mind and sentence the teens as adults and they would have the opportunity to change their pleas if he does that.
According to testimony, the five teens from Clio were playing a game called "overpassing" for about the 10th time when they threw several rocks off the Dodge Road overpass onto southbound I-75 in Vienna Township in October 2017.
One of the rocks crashed through the windshield of a work in which Kenneth White of Mt. Morris was riding. He was hit in the head and died that night.
Defense attorneys for the juvenile suspects are promoting a plan that would involve juvenile sentencing with years of required incarceration, treatment and educational requirements for them to complete.
Russ Fowler, a probation agent with the Michigan Department of Corrections, testified on Thursday that he agrees with the juvenile sentencing deal. But he would lean toward an adult sentence if that deal wasn't in place, however.
"It gets referred to us due to the seriousness of the crime," Fowler testified. "I almost always weigh towards a sentence with the Department of Corrections, for that matter alone, because I feel like if it wasn't serious enough to reach my desk, then it would've been handled in the juvenile sentence initially and not ever got to where I'm at."
Trevor Gray, Mark Sekelsky, Mikadyn Payne all appeared before Farah for similar hearings in January and February.
Farah plans to hear testimony from a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services official in April about the juvenile justice system before deciding on sentences.
Once the four juveniles are sentenced, Farah plans to sentence 19-year-old Kyle Anger, who was the only legal adult of the five suspects when the incident took place. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last fall and will be sentenced as an adult.