Charges against I-75 rock throwers could be dropped, refiled in juvenile court
(9/24/2019) - The four youngest suspects in the deadly I-75 rock throwing case might be sentenced as juveniles after all.
In court Tuesday, the Genesee County Prosecutor's Office made a motion to drop adult charges against Trevor Gray, Mark Sekelsky, Alexzander Miller and Mikadyn Payne.
Prosecutors plan to refile charges in juvenile court, ensuring the teens all can be sentenced as juveniles.
However, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah said he has discretion on whether to allow the adult charges to be dropped and he did not make a ruling Tuesday. Farah plans to do research before making a determination on the prosecutor's motion.
"This is my call here on whether or not I dismiss the case, at least I believe it is," he said. "But I tell you what, I'm not gonna make that decision until we do the research on it."
Defense attorneys Frank and Mike Manley say they've already presented that research to him.
"I need to know what you're relying on," Frank Manley said. "The court has riled off numerous cases, numerous statutes, nipsy dixie and this and that. What specifically..." Judge Farah interrupted him, "I'm not making the decision, but I will consider it."
"A judge is an umpire. The lawyers are the players," Mike Manley added. "And he wants to advocate instead of litigate. And that's our job - to litigate."
The motion comes about a month after Farah rejected a plea agreement that would have allowed the four teens to be sentenced as juveniles after pleading guilty to one count of manslaughter.
Farah said the juvenile sentences, which would have kept the four teens behind bars until they turn 21 with educational and counseling expectations, were not severe enough to match the seriousness of the crime.
Gray, Sekelsky, Miller and Payne all are accused of throwing rocks off the Dodge Road overpass onto the southbound lanes of I-75 in Vienna Township in October 2017.
One of the rocks crashed through the windshield of a work van that Kenneth White was riding in. He got hit and died of his injuries.
The four youngest suspects all were charged as adults with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. They all withdrew the guilty pleas after Farah declined to sentence them as juveniles.
Kyle Anger, who was 17 when the crime occurred, is accused of throwing the deadly rock that hit White. He pleaded guilty to an adult charge of second-degree murder and will be sentenced after the four younger suspects.