Teens competent for trial in fatal rock-throwing

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Flint – Five Clio teenagers are scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a probable cause hearing in the October death of a motorist who was struck by a rock thrown from an Interstate 75 overpass.


The family of Kenneth White react in Genesee District Court in Flint Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, as Genesee District Judge William H. Crawford approves motions for competency evaluations for three of the five teenagers, who face charges of second-degree murder after White was killed when a large rock thrown from an overpass smashed through the vehicle.

On Wednesday, three of those charged with second-degree murder and other offenses in the death of Kenneth White, were found competent to stand trial following mental forensic evaluation at a state facility, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.

Attorneys for Kyle Anger, 17; Mark Sekelsky, 16, and Trevor Gray, 15, all requested forensic reviews to determine whether their clients were mentally competent at the time of the incident and can assist attorneys in their defense. Attorneys for Alexzander Miller, 15, and Mikadyn Payne, 16 did not request the tests.

“All five are charged as adults and face penalties of up to life in prison on conviction,” said Genesee County chief assistant prosecutor John Potbury. “It’s an understatement that this is a real tragedy. We have five young people whose lives will be changed forever and the tragic death of a father/husband heading home for work after a long day.”

All five are being held without bond: Anger in the county jail and the other four in the Genesee Valley Regional Center, a secured youth detention facility. Potbury said Wednesday the prosecutor’s office would oppose any bond request from attorneys.

Investigators said the five tossed rocks, one weighing 20 pounds, off an overpass in an effort to hit vehicles on I-75 in Vienna Township. One six-pound rock crashed through the windshield of a van and struck White, 32, of Mt. Morris. The construction worker and father of a 5-year-old son later died from injuries.

Only one of the defense attorneys, Michael Manley, who represents Payne, could be reached for comment Wednesday.

“I’ve had several meetings with my client and after 28 years of experience, I am convinced he understands all charges and can aid in his own defense,” said Manley, explaining why he did not feel a need to request a forensic evaluation.

“I suspect other attorneys will ask the judge tomorrow for more time to seek and obtain an independent forensic evaluation for their clients,” Manley said. “We will stipulate to any adjournment.”

He said he believes that as the case unfolds, it will reveal a “range of culpability” in the rock-throwing.

“Investigators, including FBI, are involved in reviewing cell phone records and social media regarding allegations there might have been other rock-throwing incidents beyond this one time, but that hasn’t been established,” Manley said.

“The public is outraged over this death and they have a right to be outraged,” he said. “But at the same time, we have to take into consideration these are still children and determine what accountability, if any, they should suffer.”

The probable cause hearing is scheduled before Flint 67th District Judge William Crawford.


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