Attorney speaks on why all 5 teens were charged with murder in I - WNEM TV 5

Attorney speaks on why all 5 teens were charged with murder in I-75 rock death

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM

Five teenagers were charged with murder after police said they threw a rock off an I-75 overpass that killed a 32-year-old father.

The rock smashed through the windshield of the van Kenneth White was riding in on Oct. 18.

Police said they know who threw the rock that killed White, but all five teenagers are being charged as adults for second-degree murder. They all face life in prison if convicted.

"You helped me. You assisted me in commission of this crime. Therefore, everything that I do you're held responsible for it and that's aiding and abetting," said Alan Crawford, defense attorney.

Crawford offered insight into why he believes all five teenagers were charged with second-degree murder in White's death.

Investigators believe Kyle Anger threw the rock that killed White.

Crawford said the second-degree murder charges against the others could be a tactic prosecutors are using to pressure them to turn on Anger.

"They're going to put the threat of spending the rest of his life in prison, in the hopes that he's going to eventually cave in and become part of their case and testify against his co-defendants," Crawford said.

Crawford doesn't expect the teens to be treated with kid gloves either. Based on his interpretation of sentencing guidelines, Crawford thinks they are all looking at hard time if they are convicted.

"If they're found guilty, I got them right around 18 to 31 years," Crawford said.

Crawford said a life sentence may not be what you think it is.

"Second-degree murder isn't life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Say a judge sentences them and he just says life. That doesn't mean that they're going to die in prison. That means that they're going to be eligible for parole after 15 years," Crawford said.

The rock throwing incident has gained national attention and has stoked anger throughout the community. But Crawford wants everyone to know no matter how heinous the crime, the defendants still have a right to their day in court.

"We have to remember there's a presumption of innocent, not a presumption of guilt. Just because someone is charged, just because they're arrested, it doesn't mean that they did anything. It's still the prosecution's burden to prove that they're guilty," Crawford said.

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