Prosecutor discusses charges for Michigan teens accused of killing man with rock thrown off overpass
5 teenagers could spend rest of lives in prison for second-degree murder charges
VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Five Clio teenagers were arrested in October for allegedly dropping a rock from an overpass that went through a windshield and killed a 32-year-old man.
What's the appropriate punishment for this circumstance?
Some people believe the five boys were just being kids, but others said the teenagers are monsters who should spend the rest of their lives in prison. Local 4 Defender Karen Drew sat down with the prosecutor in the case as he tries to make a decision on how to charge the teenagers.
The case is grabbing national attention as the five teenagers could spend the rest of their lives behind bars if they're found guilty of second-degree murder.
Forensic exam results for three of the teens show they are competent to stand trial. The other two teenagers didn't seek competency exams.
The teens will return to court Thursday morning, and officials are expecting a packed courtroom.
Clio is a small community north of Flint with just over 2,600 residents.
"You know, when you're nationally known, you'd like it to be for something good, not something bad," Clio resident Cathy Hammond said.
The incident happened Oct. 18 on an overpass on I-75.
"When we were kids, we did things, but nothing like that," Clio business owner Mike Switalski said.
"They talked about it," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. "They planned it, went out there and actually did it."
Leyton is prosecuting the case.
"We believe they were idle," Leyton said. "Looking for something to do."
The prosecution said the five teenagers -- Kyle Anger, 18; Mark Sekelsky, 16; Mikadyn Payne, 16; Trevor Gray, 15; and Alex Miller, 15 -- were together that fall afternoon and decided to pull a prank that turned deadly.
"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," Leyton said. "They were hoping to hit cars that were motoring down the freeway."
One of the rocks hit Kenneth White, who was inside a van on I-75. White was struck in the head and chest by the six-pound rock.
"He was a good man and a good father," White's fiancee, Amiee Cagle, said.
"He took away a child's father and the love of my life," Cagle said.
"They got back in the car and drove away," Leyton said.
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 country 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 knew 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."
Police said they found nearly 20 rocks thrown onto the interstate that day, one of which weighed 20 pounds. They believe the teenagers are responsible for the other rocks, as well.
While there are differing opinions, residents of Clio said there are no winners in the case. They said it's a black eye for the community that a young father is dead and five teenagers are facing life in prison.
Attorneys for the teens are expected to ask for their own independent competency exams, which could take weeks or months. Local 4 requested to interview all of the defense attorneys on the case, but the requests were denied.
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