Cousin: Suspect in teen’s death said he ‘messed up’

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A Detroit man testified Thursday that he saw a scared Deontae Mitchell in his cousin’s car the night the teen went missing after allegedly scooping up $70 in lost money.

Deontae, 13, seen in a video being forced into a car May 31 by a man outside an east-side market. Gregory Walker is one of three people charged in the kidnapping and killing of Deontae. Prosecutors say Walker forced Deontae into the car.

John Reed testified his cousin called him late the night of May 31, saying he had “the little boy in his car.” He said Walker told him some boys had stolen his money and shot out the window in his car. A mechanic testified that Walker and Roberts brought the car to him about a day later to have the driver’s side window replaced and the car repaired.

Reed said he told Walker not to come to his house, but Walker came to a corner near his home and followed him to a nearby gas station. He said he saw Deontae in his cousin’s car at the gas station. He said Walker told him the boy wouldn’t tell him where he lived so Walker could go get his money.

“I was talking to the little boy and I was saying, ‘Tell (Walker) where you live,’ ” Reed testified Thursday before 36th District Judge Shannon Holmes. “(Deontae) was crying. He was saying, ‘I did.’ He kept saying, ‘I did. I did.’ ”

The boy, said Reed, did not appear to have been injured. He admitted he did not call police because he didn’t think Walker was going to hurt him.

Reed said Walker told him in a phone call after his arrest, “Cuz, I messed up.” Reed said Roberts told him the next day Deontae had jumped out of the car.

Reed’s testimony was among the graphic details about the kidnapping and possibly the last hours of the boy’s life.

The preliminary examination is being held for Walker, Lillian Roberts and her son Ernest Coleman in connection with Deontae’s kidnapping and murder. Deontae’s body was found in a field on Baldwin, not far from where he’d been abducted. Detroit police Detective Steven Turner said he received information around 8:24 a.m. June 2 about where investigators could find the teen’s body. He said he found Deontae’s body following a 40-minute search.

“I found (the) victim lying in the grass on his back,” said Turner. “I knew he was already gone.”

Anthony Young, Walker’s cousin, testified Thursday he also saw Deontae in the dark Impala at Roberts’ home. He said Walker accused Deontae and his cousin of taking money from him.

Young said the youngster’s hands were tied with white rope, allegedly by Walker, and he was crying.

“I just want to go home,” Young said Deontae told him. “I said (to Walker) ‘Untie him. You’re holding him hostage. He’s not going anywhere.’ ”

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Lillian Diallo, who is representing Roberts, Young denied he beat Deontae with a belt.

Coleman, 26, is accused of restraining Deontae while he was in the car with Walker and Roberts. Walker, 45, was arrested in Toledo.

Deontae’s 13-year-old cousin testified he and Deontae took the money, which they saw Walker drop after he urinated at the back of Nino’s Market. The boy was kidnapped shortly afterward.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Brian Surma said he plans to file habitual offenders notices against all three defendants. The preliminary examination continues July 12.