3 of 5 teens in rock throwing death appeal competency ruling - WNEM TV 5

3 of 5 teens in rock throwing death appeal competency ruling

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Three of the five teenagers accused in the death of Kenneth White who were deemed competent to stand trial have asked for an independent review of that competency ruling.

Kyle Anger, Mark Sekelsky and Trevor Gray have been deemed competent, Leyton said. But during a court hearing on Jan. 11, that ruling was appealed.

Defense attorney Frank Manley said, "it's extremely prudent to leave no stone unturned" and get a second exam. Manley is representing Sekelsky.

The judge granted the motion for an independent review. Now another competency exam will take place.

The three have been charged with one count of second-degree murder (which is punishable by up to life in prison), one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, six felony counts of malicious destruction of property and two misdemeanor counts of malicious destruction of property.

The charges stem from the Oct. 18 incident that killed 32-year-old Kenneth White of Mt. Morris.

Police said White was riding in a vehicle that night when he was struck in the head and chest by "a very large rock" thrown from the Dodge Road overpass in Genesee County's Vienna Township. 

"My client is terrified. These are youngsters that maybe not even know which lunch period they're supposed to show up at their school. Now they're looking at possibly spending the rest of their life in prison," Manley said.

Manley said a competency exam is used to determine two things - if the defendant knows what he is charged with and measure the ability to assist their attorney in a rational fashion.

"What people don't understand and this is what is so, so important. When those bright lights go on and the judge says to a 15-year-old young man 'you're charged with murder and you may spend the rest of your life in prison,' I want to know if you're competent at that point. And that's why we did what we did," Manley said.

State experts found the defendants competent, but Manley wants a more thorough look from his set of experts.

"I think they'll go deeper possibly in terms of records, background, friends. I think they have more resources, more time and we get a more comprehensive review and evaluation," Manley said.

Manley said if his expert agrees with the state's findings, the next step should be the preliminary exam in a Genesee County courtroom.

"If you've had someone at the state forensic center do an evaluation for competency and you've had the opportunity to hire your own expert, I think the next step would indeed be to go forward with the examination," Manley said.

Attorneys for Alexzander Miller and Mikadyn Payne did not request the exams.

Miller and Payne face the same charges as the other teenagers.

The five teens are expects back in court in March.

TV5 will update once more information is available.

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