Five teenagers have been charged as adults in the death of a man who was killed by a rock thrown on I-75.
The teenagers include Kyle Anger, Alexzander Miller, Trevor Gray, Mikadyn Payne and Mark Sekelsky.
All five of them were arraigned in front of a judge on Tuesday, Oct. 24 where not-guilty pleas were entered.
They were 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.
“I don’t think this was a deliberate attempt to take somebody’s life. It was a willful and wanton act that resulted in somebody’s death. These people should have known better,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. “Under Michigan law that is second-degree murder.”
The teenagers range in age from 15-17.
The charges stem from the Oct. 18 incident that killed 32-year-old Kenneth White of Mt. Morris.
"These particular individuals knowingly created a very high risk of death or great bodily harm, knowing that death or such harm would be the likely result of such actions," Leyton said.
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.
Investigators believe that rock was thrown by Kyle Anger.
White was a passenger in a van driven by his friend, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said. The driver saw a large rock coming at the van and said the rock entered the passenger side through the windshield, Pickell said.
After the rock entered the van the driver said he passed four vehicles parked on the shoulder of the road before he could pull over, Pickell said.
"Detectives discovered several vehicles on the shoulder of the roadway with flat tires and other damage to the vehicles," Pickell said.
Leyton said White died from blunt force trauma to the head and chest. He sustained lacerations and abrasions to the head and face, a skull fracture, an injury to the brain, fracture to his facial skeleton, a huge laceration to his chest, and a broken clavicle and upper ribs, Leyton said.
The rock that struck White was thrown from the north end of the overpass and was about 5 inches wide, 8 inches long and weighed six pounds, Pickell said.
Prior to the incident that killed White, the suspects threw a tire off of the Farrand Road overpass, Pickell said.
Afterwards, officials said the five went to McDonald's to eat.
White was the father of four children, according to his obituary.
"I just don't understand how somebody could just go out like that and think it's fun. I mean, you take somebody's child away from them. You take their father away from them. You take their brother away from them," said Kenny White, victim's father.
He said the punishment is a far cry from the pain and suffering his family has had to endure.
"They can't give it the way I want it. So we'll just go with what they got to do with it. You know what I'm saying? I can't give them enough punishment. You know, because even if they spend 30 years in prison, they get to wake up every single day. They still get phone calls from their parents. They still get visitors. My son don't get none of that no more. That was taken away from him for something stupid," Kenny White said.
A judge denied bail for all five teenagers. They are set to appear in court again on Nov. 2.
"It's a murder case and there was no anticipation that anybody was going to be let out today," said Frank Manley, defense attorney.
Manley is representing Mark Sekelsky. He cautions the community against painting all of the teens with the same brush.
"Although the charges are the same, the kids are all different. The actions that the kids may have become involved in are all different. So even though the charges were read exactly the same, my anticipation is that there will be a distinction once the evidence comes forward," Manley said.
Manley said the fact that a man lost his life weighs heavy on the Sekelsky family.
"I can only speak to the parents of my child who are devastated," Manley said.
All five of the teenagers attended Clio High School.
Clio Area Schools Superintendent Fletcher Spears III released this statement on Oct. 24 regarding the incident:Clio Area Schools joins with the entire community in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Kenneth White in the wake of his tragic death on October 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. This 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.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Mr. White’s family, as well as his many friends during this difficult time. As a District, we are also working to provide support to those in our school and community who have been impacted by this tragedy. Due to privacy requirements, imposed by federal law, we cannot provide any information regarding the students involved.Why would somebody do this?
TV5 spoke to a psychotherapist about why the teenagers would do something like this.
"Thinking wow that teenagers can get to that point where they lose their focus of what really are intended consequences of the choices that they're playing," Dr. Thomas Haller said.
Haller has been a psychotherapist for more than 20 years. He said something like this is typically the result of mob mentality.
"Everything is focused through this filter of what will my friends think and how will they view what I'm doing or not doing. And so they lose the focus of outside and how it's affecting somebody else," Haller said.
Haller hopes this case will encourage parents to talk to their teens about peer pressure.
"You have to help yourself stay true to you and not play to the notion that I have to have my friends like everything I do," Haller said.
Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.