Teen pleads guilty in Noel Night shooting

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 16-year-old charged in last year’s Noel Night shooting that left four people wounded pleaded guilty Wednesday to lesser charges for the crime.

Calvin Stephens of Detroit pleaded no contest to two counts of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder and one count of felony firearm. When sentenced later next month, Stephens could get as much as 10 years behind bars and two years for the firearms violation if he is sentenced as an adult. He could also be sentenced to a juvenile program that could include detention in a youth offender’s facility.

Wayne County juvenile Judge Frank Szymanski told Stephens as part of his adult designation for the charges — reduced from four counts of assault with intent to commit murder — the judge has three options under which he could sentence the teen: as an adult, as a juvenile or under the provisions of a blended sentence in which Stephens would be eligible for services and treatment as a juvenile but could risk being sentenced as an adult if he commits an adult felony that is punishable by a year or more behind bars.

Szymanski said in the past, he has tended to offer young offenders a blended sentence. Stephens was referred Wednesday to the court’s probation department, which will compile a presentence report on the teen before Szymanski sentences him May 25.

A trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday over the Dec. 2 shooting at the popular Noel Night event, which caused mass panic among those attending the holiday celebration. The ensuing fear and hysteria after the gunshots rang out at Farnsworth and John R near the Detroit Institute of Arts sent panic-stricken parents into Woodward Avenue.

The teen did not testify about what he exactly did when he pleaded guilty Wednesday to the incident. Authorities say Stephens was armed with a handgun and wounded four teens, ages 14, 16, 17 and 19.

Stephens was arrested the day after the shooting and charged as an adult-designed defendant. He was given a $50,000 cash bond after being charged.

Stephens’ family members and others filled the courtroom Wednesday as Szymanski continued Stephens’ bond, which includes a tether and confinement to the family home except for school, church and appointments, such as a doctor’s office visit.

The judge told Stephens to be on his “best behavior going forward.”

He advised the teen now that he has been pleaded guilty to an adult crime, the stakes are high for him.

“At this point, your job is to stay out of trouble,” Szymanksi said Wednesday. “This is very serious at this stage.”

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