Five Michigan teenagers accused of throwing rocks from a highway overpass that caused the death of a young father were arraigned on second-degree murder and other charges and were all denied bail by a local judge Tuesday.
Calling them a "danger to the public" Genesee District Judge William H. Crawford II said Kyle Anger, 17, Mark Sekelsky and Mikadyn Payne, both 16, as well as 15-year-olds Alexzander Miller and Trevor Gray, all of Clio, should remain in custody due to "the seriousness of the nature of these charges," MLive Michigan reported.
The teenagers are all facing charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, malicious destruction of property and other felony and misdemeanor charges in the death of Kenneth A. White, 32.
Police said on Oct. 18, the teens threw more than 12 rocks from the Dodge Road overpass at passing vehicles along I-75. One of those rocks weighed 6 pounds and crashed into a van in which White was traveling home from work. He suffered major trauma to his head and chest and later died at a local hospital.
After the accident the five teenagers went to eat at a local McDonald's, according to ABC 12.
"All of us can relate to driving down I-75, which is why this case is so personal to many of us," Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said during a press conference Monday.
"It's just a sad situation that hopefully will be determined by the facts of the case," said Fred Meiers, the attorney for Gray, told MLive at the arraignment.
Pickell had noted earlier that the case should not be treated lightly.
"It's not a prank. It's second-degree murder. I don't think anybody is laughing," he said. "I think if there's any warning both David and I could give, it's telling young people you make a bad decision you could be spending the rest of your life in prison. This is not a prank."
Prosecutor David Leyton, who Picknell referenced, said Monday that while some members of the public are calling for first-degree murder charges, the second-degree charge is in line with Michigan law.
"I don't believe there was pre-mediation (to cause a death) here," Leyton said.
All five of the teenagers were students in the Clio school district. In a statement Tuesday, Clio schools Superintendent Fletcher Spears III expressed "heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Kenneth White in the wake of his tragic death on Oct. 18, 2017."
"This is an extremely difficult time for our entire community. Whether we knew Mr. White, those who are being charged and their families, or have driven this same stretch of road countless times, many of us have a personal connection with this senseless tragedy," he continued.
He further noted that the incident is "a stark reminder that we need to impress upon all of our young people that actions have consequences: and sometimes those consequences can be tragic."
A GoFundMe campaign seeking to set up a scholarship fund for White's young son had raised more than $70,000 as of Wednesday morning.