Five Michigan Teenagers Charged With Second-Degree Murder After Throwing Rocks Off Overpass
Last Wednesday, 32-year-old Ken White was riding in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle on Interstate 75 when he was struck in the chest and head by a six-pound rock that came through the windshield of the vehicle. White was pronounced dead at a Michigan hospital shortly after the incident.
The rock was thrown from an overpass by a group of Michigan teenagers, now nicknamed the “Michigan Five.” The teenagers reportedly threw more than 20 rocks off two separate overpasses Wednesday night, including one weighing at least 20 pounds, as well as a tire. The teens’ ages range from 15- to 17-years-old, with the oldest turning 18 next week. It is reported as though Kyle Anger, the eldest of the group, was the one to throw the rock that took Ken White’s life.
All five teenagers have been charged individually with second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, and the malicious destruction of property. They are also being charged as adults, meaning the teens face up to a life prison sentence. The teens plead not guilty on Tuesday and bail was denied by the judge for all five of them.
An attorney for one of the Michigan Five, pointed out that while all five teens were charged with the same crimes, their verdicts may be different based on their individual actions. “The kids are all different; the actions that the kids may have become involved in are all different.”
The Genessee County Prosecutor, David Leyton, justifies the second-degree murder charge by the teens’ intent to cause harm. “I don’t believe this was a deliberate act to take somebody’s life,” explained Leyton. “It was a willful and wanton act that resulted in somebody’s death. These people should have known better. […] Under Michigan law, that is second-degree murder.” The rocks thrown were reportedly gathered from separate locations and brought to the overpass with the intent to throw them over the edge, into highway traffic.
In addition to the second-degree murder related charges, the five teens are also being charged with the malicious destruction of property. The items thrown from the overpass damaged at least four additional vehicles.
Local law enforcement sees this as a lose-lose situation. “Nobody wins,” said Sheriff Robert Pickell. “The young people are charged criminally. A young boy lost his father, and all of the families are left grieving.”