3 to be tried in slaying of Detroit boy, 13

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Thirteen-year-old Deontae Mitchell suffered extreme physical pain and mental anguish as he pleaded with his three kidnappers to free him from his ordeal while they drove him around Detroit for more than five hours before he was choked to death.

Three adults charged in connection with Deontae’s murder were bound over Tuesday to stand trial.

Judge Shannon Holmes of 36th District Court ordered Gregory Walker, Lillian Roberts and her son Ernest Coleman to stand trial on charges in Deontae’s murder. The boy was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and killed over about $80 in lost money he scooped up outside an east side market in May.

An arraignment on information is scheduled July 26 in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Deontae was allegedly kidnapped and driven around parts of Detroit, according to prosecutors, Walker tried to get the boy to tell him where he lived. Deontae was slapped in the head, hit with a belt and choked before his body was found in an east side field June 2.

Deontae was seen in video footage being forced into a car May 31 by a man, identified as 45-year-old Walker, outside Nino’s Market.

The teen and his cousin were outside the store when they saw Walker drop the cash. The cousin and Deontae split up and Deontae was never heard from again.

Deontae, according to a witness in the case, cried to go home as the three defendants allegedly drove him around the city. The youngster’s hands were tied with white rope, allegedly by Walker, and he was crying.

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

Roberts’ defense attorney Lillian Diallo said her client had nothing to do with injuring or killing Deontae. “(Roberts) never did anything to hurt the little boy,” she said.

In making her ruling, Holmes told Roberts and Diallo that Deontae cried out to her, trying to appeal to her as a mother to help him.

The child, according to statements, asked Roberts, “You’re not going to let (Walker) hurt me are you?”

Holmes said Roberts was there when Deontae was slapped and choked and then “dumped in a field like a piece of garbage.”

Holmes scolded Coleman, who drove the car containing the boy, for not calling the police and lying about details of Deontae’s kidnapping and murder.

“Mr. Coleman started out telling the truth but left out some things to either protect himself or his mother,” Holmes said.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Brian Surma called Coleman “a sidekick ... a participant.”

Walker’s defense attorney Christopher Kessel said his client maintains the boy’s death was an accident.

“This was not intentional,” said Kessel. “This was not part of a grander scheme. (Walker’s) only purpose was to take him home to his family.”

The judge said Walker should not have tried to get his money back but instead should have contacted the police.

“You don’t get to be a vigilante. He should have allowed police to do this job. He didn’t do that,” said Holmes.


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