Prosecutor hopes case against 16-year-old beating suspect 'sends a message'

Published: Feb. 11, 2019 at 6:19 PM EST
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(2/11/2019) - Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the photo of Ron Lemmon's face following a violent attack Tuesday morning made him outraged.

"You oughta be able to go to your grocery store and not be beaten up," he said. "So, we've charged the youngster harshly as an adult and we're going to try to convict him of the crimes that he committed."

Leyton's office said the teen charged is a 16-year-old originally from Onaway, but he has been living in the Flint area recently.

The Genesee Township Police Department caught him last Wednesday. Leyton charged him Thursday with assault with intent to rob while unarmed and assault with intent to murder.

Lemmon, 63, said the teen stopped him when getting out of his car at the Kroger in Genesee Township early Tuesday morning.

When he refused to give him a cigarette or money for one, Lemmon said the teen attacked him, smashing his head repeatedly into the window of his car.

Lemmon was able to drive himself home. He's still recovering from cuts, bruises and a possible concussion.

Leyton said he's charging the teen as an adult because the assault was so severe.

"I think it sends a message first and foremost that this is not the kind of activity that you want to be involved in," he said. "And secondly, it gives me more flexibility. I can always bring it back to juvenile court, but if you start in juvenile court you can't move it up. I want this person to have a taste of the adult court system and understand the harshness of the situation and that he could, in fact, be locked up for a very long time."

If convicted of assault with intent to murder, the teenager could receive a sentence of life in prison.

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