Teens may face life in prison if convicted of murder after thrown rock kills man

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Five teenage boys in Michigan could face life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder for allegedly throwing a rock at a van that went through the windshield and killed a passenger.

On Oct. 18 at about 8:30 p.m., the victim Kenneth White and his friend were driving home from work, heading south on I-75 at about 70 mph in a van. The driver said he saw a large rock coming toward the vehicle, in which White was the passenger, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell told ABC News.

The rock, according to the driver, entered the passenger side through the windshield, hitting White, 32, in the face and then ricocheted from his face to his chest, Pickell said.

Five teenage boys have been charged as adults with second-degree murder.

The teen accused of throwing the fatal rock is 17 years old, Pickell said, and the other four teens are 15.

About 20 rocks were found strewn on the highway, Pickell said.

Pickell told The Associated Press that after the teens allegedly threw the rocks, they went to eat at a McDonald's.

The teens, also facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and malicious destruction of property, made their first appearances in court this morning.

According to ABC affiliate WJRT in Flint, Michigan, the five teens all pleaded not guilty without making any other statements about the case.

One defense attorney, Erwin Meiers, said, "On behalf of my client, we will wait for the facts to play out as to the culpability of all the defendants in this matter. This unfortunate situation will affect all of the parties for the rest of their lives. There are no winners here. My client is innocent until proven otherwise."

Another defense attorney, Michael Manley, said, "This case is a tragedy of epic proportions. The public is rightfully outraged at this senseless loss of life. We only ask that people reserve final judgement until the facts can be sorted out in a court of law. We are confident once the details are learned as to each individual's role, we will be able to fairly resolve this case with Prosecutor [David] Leyton's office."

Pickell said White was a father and called the case "tragic" all around with "all of the families ... left grieving."

"At the end of the day, nobody wins," Pickell said.

WJRT reported that White's fiance, Amiee Cagle, said she hopes the teen who allegedly threw the rock is sentenced to life in prison.

Though Cagle said she will try to forgive the teens, WJRT reported, it won't be easy.

"I know that's what Kenneth would have wanted," she said. "It's going to take time, a lot of time."

ABC News' Dominick Proto, Katherine Carroll and Jeff Costello contributed to this report.

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