FLINT, Mich. – Three of five Michigan teens have been found competent to stand trial in the death of a man killed after a rock thrown from a freeway overpass crashed through a van's windshield but will undergo an independent competency examination before court proceedings continue.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says the evaluations show Kyle Anger, Mark Sekelsky and Trevor Gray were mentally competent at the time of the incident and can understand their charges. Defense attorneys requested independent examinations and the judge
Their lawyers requested the exams. Attorneys for Alex Miller and Mikadyn Payne did not ask for competency examinations and are ready for a preliminary hearing.
All five are charged as adults with second-degree murder and other charges.
They ranged in age from 15 to 17 when a when a 6-pound (2.7-kilogram) rock thrown Oct. 18 onto Interstate 75 in Vienna Township, north of Detroit, struck the van Kenneth White was in. White later died.
White's family was in the court room Thursday and requested the court hearings for all five defendants be consolidated and take place at one time. The judge granted the request.
Prosecution discusses charges
Local 4 Defender Karen Drew sat down with the prosecutor in the case to discuss the charges the boys face.
"They went to one of their homes where there was actually a rock pile near the house and they were gathering rocks from that rock pile, put them in the vehicle and drove out to this overpass," Genessee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. "They were hoping to hit cars that were motoring down the freeway."
The prosecution said evidence will show the teens scattered but communicated by text afterward.
"All I'm willing to say at this point is that they were talking about what they might want to say should they be questioned by the authorities," Leyton said.
The second-degree murder charges against the teenagers are fueling a debate.
"I've heard from people all over the county who've said I have (been too harsh for) charging individuals with second-degree murder because they're just kids, just teenagers pulling a prank," Leyton said. "Well, I didn't see it as a prank. I see it as individuals who kew or should have known that by throwing a rock of this size from an overpass, you're very likely to either kill somebody or cause great bodily harm."
Family devastated; victim had 5-year-old son
White's family and the community were torn apart by White's death. Amy Cagle had to tell her 5-year-old son that his father was killed coming home from work.
"He was a good man and a good father," Cagle said.
Police said a large rock was thrown off of the Dodge Road overpass north of Flint, hitting the van White was riding home in from his construction job.
"For some senseless act, for it to be just a rock, just to take him so soon," Cagle said.
Before White and his friend came through the area on I-75, police said 20 rocks had already been thrown. Four other cars had pulled over, and drivers called 911.
"I just don't understand what a person could be thinking to even want to do something like that," said Alicia Waskoski, White's sister. "To know they're putting lives in danger by just throwing rocks over the interpass."