Sentence for teens charged in I-75 rock throwing case up for debate
(9/26/2018) - A judge is requiring more proceedings this fall to determine what sentence four of five teens accused in the I-75 rock throwing case will receive.
Attorneys for the four suspects were in court Wednesday asking for the Clio teens to be sentenced as juveniles. But Judge Joseph Farah would not agree to that without a formal hearing on the matter.
Mikadyn Payne, Alexzander Miller, Mark Sekelsky and Trevor Gray all agreed in August to plead guilty to manslaughter in the death of Kenneth White of Mt. Morris. However, they have not officially entered a plea.
White died last October when one of the rocks the teens threw off the Dodge Road overpass went through the windshield of the van in which he was riding and hit him.
The fifth suspect, 18-year-old Kyle Anger, did not accept the plea deal and remains charged as an adult with 11 counts, including second-degree murder. Police say Anger threw the deadly rock that hit White.
Farah said he doesn't necessarily disagree with sentencing the four teens as juveniles, but he believes the court needs to have a formal hearing downgrading their cases from adult to juvenile charges.
"The court will make this clear: There will be no juvenile sentencing without a juvenile sentencing hearing in open court with live witnesses and input from all involved," Farah said.
Defense attorney Frank Manley said that hearing would help the four teens cases.
"I just think the people we'll bring forward whether it'll be professionals that have examined them or the people that know them, I think will give a fuller picture in the end of why Judge Farah will sentence them as juveniles," Manley said.
Fellow defense attorney Mike Manley is leaning toward the open hearing too, hopeful that a jury trial won't be necessary for the teens.
"Our position is that we have a sentence agreement, we have a sentence recommendation," he said. "If the judge cannot follow that, which is his right after hearing the evidence, we would like the opportunity to withdraw the plea and make other decisions. Now that doesn't mean we would, but we want that opportunity."
Anger's attorney hopes to make a proposal for how his case can end without a trial, as well. Both sides have 21 days to agree on the resolution.
White's mother did not comment outside court Wednesday.